Skip to main content

Full text of "The world as will and idea"

See other formats


<7 c. 














J. KEMP, M.A. 

VOL. I. 

! Ob oicht Natur zuletzt sich doch ergrtinde?"— GOETHE. 





7%« ri#/t/s of translation and of reproduction are reserved 

Printed in Great Britain by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co. 
at the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh 




The World as Idea— First Aspect. The Idea Subobdi- i 

nated to the principle op sufficient reason: the 
Object of Experience and Science .... 


The World as Will— First Aspect. The Objeotifioation 

of the Will 121 


The World as Idea— Second Aspect. The Idea Indepen- 
dent of the Principle of Sufficient Reason: the 
Platonic Idea : the Object of Art . . . 217 


The World as Will— Second Aspect. After the Attain- 
ment of Self-knowledge. Assertion and Denial of 
the Will to Live 347 


The style of " Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung " is 
sometimes loose and involved, as is so often the case in 
German philosophical treatises. The translation of the 
book has consequently been a matter of no little diffi- 
culty. It was found that extensive alteration of the 
long and occasionally involved sentences, however likely 
to prove conducive to a satisfactory English style, tended 
not only to obliterate the form of the original but even 
to imperil the meaning. Where a choice has had to be 
made, the alternative of a somewhat slavish adherence to 
Schopenhauer's ipsissima verba has accordingly been pre- 
ferred to that of inaccuracy. The result is a piece of 
work which leaves much to be desired, but which has 
yet consistently sought to reproduce faithfully the spirit 
as well as the letter of the original. 

As regards the rendering of the technical terms about 
which there has been so much controversy, the equiva- 
lents used have only been adopted after careful consider- 
ation of their meaning in the theory of knowledge. For 
example, " Vorstellung " has been rendered by " idea," in 
preference to " representation," which is neither accurate, 
intelligible, nor elegant. "Idee," is translated by the 


same word, but spelled with a capital, — " Idea." Again, 
" Anschauung " has been rendered according to the con- 
text, either by " perception " simply, or by " intuition or 

Notwithstanding statements to the contrary in the text, 
the book is probably quite intelligible in itself, apart from 
the treatise " On the Fourfold Boot of the Principle of 
Sufficient Reason." It has, however, been considered 
desirable to add an abstract of the latter work in an 
appendix to the third volume of this translation. 

J. K. 


I propose to point out here how this book must be read 
in order to be thoroughly understood. By means of it 
I only intend to impart a single thought. Yet, notwith- 
standing all my endeavours, I could find no shorter way 
of imparting it than this whole book. I hold this thought 
to be that which has very long been sought for under 
the name of philosophy, and the discovery of which is 
therefore regarded by those who are familiar with his- 
tory as quite as impossible as the discovery of the philoso- 
pher's stone, although it was already said by Pliny : Quam 
multa fieri non posse, priusquam sint facta, judicantur ? 
(Hist, nat 7, I.) 

According as we consider the different aspects of this 
one thought which I am about to impart, it exhibits 
itself as that which we call metaphysics, that which we 
call ethics, and that which we call aesthetics ; and cer- 
tainly it must be all this if it is what I have already 
acknowledged I take it to be. 

A system of thought must always have an architectonic 
connection or coherence, that is, a connection in which 
one part always supports the other, though the latter 
does not support the former, in which ultimately the 
foundation supports all the rest without being supported 
by it, and the apex is supported without supporting. 
On the other hand, a single thought, however compre- 


hensive it may be, must preserve the most perfect unity. 
If it admits of being broken up into parts to facilitate 
its communication, the connection of these parts must 
yet be organic, i.e., it must be a connection in which 
every part supports the whole just as much as it is 
supported by it, a connection in which there is no first 
and no last, in which the whole thought gains distinct- 
ness through every part, and even the smallest part 
cannot be completely understood unless the whole has 
already been grasped. A book, however, must always 
have a first and a last line, and in this respect will 
always remain very unlike an organism, however like 
one its content may be : thus form and matter are here 
in contradiction. 

It is self-evident that under these circumstances no 
other advice can be given as to how one may enter into 
the thought explained in this work than to read the book 
twice, and the first time with great patience, a patience 
which is only to be derived from the belief, voluntarily 
accorded, that the beginning presupposes the end almost 
as much as the end presupposes the beginning, and that 
all the earlier parts presuppose the later almost as much 
as the later presuppose the earlier. I say "almost;" 
for this is by no means absolutely the case, and I have 
honestly and conscientiously done all that was possible 
to give priority to that which stands least in need of 
explanation from what follows, as indeed generally to 
everything that can help to make the thought as easy 
to comprehend and as distinct as possible. This might 
indeed to a certain extent be achieved if it were not that 
the reader, as is very natural, thinks, as he reads, not 
merely of what is actually said, but also of its possible 
consequences, and thus besides the many contradictions 


actually given of the opinions of the time, and presum- 
ably of the reader, there may be added as many more 
which are anticipated and imaginary. That, then, which 
is really only misunderstanding, must take the form of 
active disapproval, and it is all the more difficult to 
recognise that it is misunderstanding, because although 
the laboriously-attained clearness of the explanation and 
distinctness of the expression never leaves the immediate 
sense of what is said doubtful, it cannot at the same 
time express its relations to all that remains to be said. 
Therefore, as we have said, the first perusal demands 
patience, founded on confidence that on a second perusal 
much, or all, will appear in an entirely different light. 
Further, the earnest endeavour to be more completely 
and even more easily comprehended in the case of a 
very difficult subject, must justify occasional repetition. 
Indeed the structure of the whole, which is organic, not 
a mere chain, makes it necessary sometimes to touch on 
the same point twice. Moreover this construction, and 
the very close connection of all the parts, has not left 
open to me the division into chapters and paragraphs 
which I should otherwise have regarded as very im- 
portant, but has obliged me to rest satisfied with four 
principal divisions, as it were four aspects of one thought. 
In each of these four books it is especially important to 
guard against losing sight, in the details which must 
necessarily be discussed, of the principal thought to 
which they belong, and the progress of the whole exposi- 
tion. I have thus expressed the first, and like those 
which follow, unavoidable demand upon the reader, who 
holds the philosopher in small favour just because he 
himself is a philosopher. 

The second demand is this, that the introduction be 


read before the book itself, although it is not contained 
in the book, but appeared five years earlier under the 
title, "Ueber die vierfache Wurzel des Satzes vom zurei- 
chenden Grunde : eine philosophische Abhandlung " (On the 
fourfold root of the principle of sufficient reason : a philo- 
sophical essay). Without an acquaintance with this 
introduction and propadeutic it is absolutely impossible 
to understand the present work properly, and the content 
of that essay will always be presupposed in this work 
just as if it were given with it. Besides, even if it had 
not preceded this book by several years, it would not 
properly have been placed before it as an introduction, 
but would have been incorporated in the first book. As 
it is, the first book does not contain what was said in 
the earlier essay, and it therefore exhibits a certain 
incompleteness on account of these deficiencies, which 
must always be supplied by reference to it. However, 
my disinclination was so great either to quote myself or 
laboriously to state again in other words what I had 
already said once in an adequate manner, that I preferred 
this course, notwithstanding the fact that I might now 
be able to give the content of that essay a somewhat 
better expression, chiefly by freeing it from several 
conceptions which resulted from the excessive influence 
which the Kantian philosophy had over me at the time, 
such as — categories, outer and inner sense, and the like. 
But even there these conceptions only occur because 
as yet I had never really entered deeply into them, there- 
fore only by the way and quite out of connection with 
the principal matter. The correction of such passages in 
that essay will consequently take place of its own accord 
in the mind of the reader through his acquaintance with 
the present work. But only if we have fully recognised 


by means of that essay what the principle of sufficient 
reason is and signifies, what its validity extends to, and 
what it does not extend to, and that that principle is not 
before all things, and the whole world merely in con- 
sequence of it, and in conformity to it, a corollary, as it 
were, of it; but rather that it is merely the form in 
which the object, of whatever kind it may be, which is 
always conditioned by the subject, is invariably known 
so far as the subject is a knowing individual : only then 
will it be possible to enter into the method of philosophy 
which is here attempted for the first time, and which is 
completely different from all previous methods. 

But the same disinclination to repeat myself word for 
word, or to say the same thing a second time in other 
and worse words, after I have deprived myself of the 
better, has occasioned another defect in the first book of 
this work. For I have omitted all that is said in the 
first chapter of my essay " On Sight and Colour," which 
would otherwise have found its place here, word for 
word. Therefore the knowledge of this short, earlier 
work is also presupposed. 

Finally, the third demand I have to make on the 
reader might indeed be tacitly assumed, for it is nothing 
but an acquaintance with the most important j^enomenon 
that has app^arejiin.-phUa30phx,l9X JjE2-fefi3S9SA-.jears, 
and that lies so near us : I mean the principal writings 
of KafitC *lt~ieems to me, in fact, as indeed has already 
been said by others, that the effect these writings produce 
in the mind to which they truly speak is very like that 
of the operation for cataract on a blind man : and if we 
wish to pursue the simile further, the aim of my own 
work may be described by saying that I have sought to 
put into the hands of those upon whom that operation 


has been successfully performed a pair of spectacles 
suitable to eyes that have recovered their sight — spectacles 
of whose use that operation is the absolutely necessary 
condition. Starting then, as I do to a large extent, from 
what has been accomplished by the great Kant, I have 
yet been enabled, just on account of my earnest study of 
his writings, to discover important errors in them. These 
I have been obliged to separate from the rest and prove 
to be false, in order that I might be able to presuppose 
and apply what is true and excellent in his doctrine, 
pure and freed from error. But not to interrupt and 
complicate my own exposition by a constant polemic 
against Kant, I have relegated this to a special appendix. 
It follows then, from what has been said, that my work 
presupposes a knowledge of this appendix just as much 
as it presupposes a knowledge of the philosophy of Kant ; 
and in this respect it would therefore be advisable to 
read the appendix first, all the more as its content is 
specially related to the first book of the present work. 
On the other hand, it could not be avoided, from the 
nature of the case, that here and there the appendix also 
should refer to the text of the work; and the only 
result of this is, that the appendix, as well as the 
principal part of the work, must be read twice. 

The philosophy of Kant, then, is the only philosophy 
with which a thorough acquaintance is directly presup- 
posed in what we have to say here. But if, besides this, 
the reader has lingered in the school of the divine Plato, 
he will be so much the better prepared to hear me, and 
susceptible to what I say. And if, indeed, in addition to 
this he is a partaker of the benefit conferred by the 
Vedas, the access to which, opened to us through the 
Upanishads, is in my eyes the greatest advantage which 


this still young century enjoys over previous ones, be- 
cause I believe that the influence of the Sanscrit litera- 
ture will penetrate not less deeply than did the revival 
of Greek literature in the fifteenth century: if, I say, 
the reader has also already received and assimilated the 
sacred, primitive Indian wisdom, then is he best of all 
prepared to hear what I have to say to him. My work 
will not speak to him, as to many others, in a strange 
and even hostile tongue ; for, if it does not sound too vain, 
I might express the opinion that each one of the indi- 
vidual and disconnected aphorisms which make up the 
Upanishads may be deduced as a consequence from the 
thought I am going to impart, though the converse, that 
my thought is to be found in the Upanishads, is by no 
means the case. 

But most readers have already grown angry with im- 
patience, and burst into reproaches with difficulty kept 
back so long. How can I venture to present a book to 
the public under conditions and demands the first two 
of which are presumptuous and altogether immodest, 
and this at a time when there is such a general wealth 
of special ideas, that in Germany alone they are made 
common property through the press, in three thousand 
valuable, original, and absolutely indispensable works 
every year, besides innumerable periodicals, and even 
daily papers; at a time when especially there is not 
the least deficiency of entirely original and profound 
philosophers, but in Germany alone there are more of 
them alive at the same time, than several centuries 
could formerly boast of in succession to each other? 
How is one ever to come to the end, asks the indignant 
reader, if one must set to work upon a book in such a 
fashion ? 


As I have absolutely nothing to advance against these 
reproaches, I only hope for some small thanks from such 
readers for having warned them in time, so that they may 
not lose an hour over a book which it would be useless 
to read without complying with the demands that have 
been made, and which should therefore be left alone, 
particularly as apart from this we might wager a great 
deal that it can say nothing to them, but rather that it 
will always be only pancorum hominum, and must there- 
fore quietly and modestly wait for the few whose unusual 
mode of thought may find it enjoyable. For apart from 
the difficulties and the effort which it requires from the 
reader, what cultured man of this age, whose knowledge 
has almost reached the august point at which the paradoxi- 
cal and the false are all one to it, could bear to meet thoughts 
almost on every page that directly contradict that which 
he has yet himself established once for all as true and 
undeniable ? And then, how disagreeably disappointed 
will many a one be if he finds no mention here of what 
he believes it is precisely here he ought to look for, be- 
cause his method of speculation agrees with that of a 
great living philosopher, 1 who has certainly written 
pathetic books, and who only has the trifling weakness 
that he takes all he learned and approved before his 
fifteenth year for inborn ideas of the human mind. Who 
could stand all this ? Therefore my advice is simply to 
lay down the book. 

But I fear I shall not escape even thus. The reader 
who has got as far as the preface and been stopped by 
it, has bought the book for cash, and asks how he is 
to be indemnified. My last refuge is now to remind 
him that he knows how to make use of a book in several 

1 F. H. Jacobi 


ways, without exactly reading it. It may fill a gap in his 
library as well as many another, where, neatly bound, it 
will certainly look well. Or he can lay it on the toilet- 
table or the tea-table of some learned lady friend. Or, 
finally, what certainly is best of all, and I specially advise 
it, he can review it. 

And now that I have allowed myself the jest to 
which in this two-sided life hardly any page can be too 
serious to grant a place, I part with the book with deep 
seriousness, in the sure hope that sooner or later it will 
reach those to whom alone it can be addressed ; and for 
the rest, patiently resigned that the same fate should, in 
full measure, befall it, that in all ages has, to some 
extent, befallen all knowledge, and especially the 
weightiest knowledge of the truth, to which only a brief 
triumph is allotted between the two long periods in 
which it is condemned as paradoxical or disparaged as 
trivial. The former fate is also wont to befall its author. 
But life is short, and truth works far and lives long : let 
us speak the truth. 

Written at Dresden in August 1818. 


Not to my contemporaries, not to my compatriots — to 
mankind I commit my now completed work in the con- 
fidence that it will not be without value for them, even 
if this should be late recognised, as is commonly the lot 
of what is good. For it cannot have been for the passing 
generation, engrossed with the delusion of the moment, 
that my mind, almost against my will, has uninterruptedly 
stuck to its work through the course of a long life. And 
while the lapse of time has not been able to make me 
doubt the worth of my work, neither has the lack of 
sympathy ; for I constantly saw the false and the bad, 
and finally the absurd and senseless, 1 stand in universal 
admiration and honour, and I bethought myself that if 
it were not the case those who are capable of recognising 
the genuine and right are so rare that we may look 
for them in vain for some twenty years, then those who 
are capable of producing it could not be so few that 
their works afterwards form an exception to the perish- 
ableness of earthly things ; and thus would be lost the 
reviving prospect of posterity which every one who sets 
before himself a high aim requires to strengthen him. 

Whoever seriously takes up and pursues an object that 
does not lead to material advantages, must not count on 

1 The Hegelian Philosophy. 


the sympathy of his contemporaries. For the most part 
he will see, however, that in the meantime the superficial 
aspect of that object becomes current in the world, and 
enjoys its day ; and this is as it should be. The object 
itself must be pursued for its own sake, otherwise it 
cannot be attained ; for any design or intention is always 
dangerous to insight. Accordingly, as the whole history 
of literature proves, everything of real value required a 
long time to gain acceptance, especially if it belonged to 
the class of instructive, not entertaining, works; and 
meanwhile the false nourished. For to combine the 
object with its superficial appearance is difficult, when it 
is not impossible. Indeed that is just the curse of this 
world of want and need, that everything must serve and 
slave for these; and therefore it is not so constituted 
that any noble and sublime effort, like the endeavour 
after light and truth, can prosper unhindered and exist 
for its own sake. But even if such an endeavour has 
once succeeded in asserting itself, and the conception of 
it has thus been introduced, material interests and per- 
sonal aims will immediately take possession of it, in 
order to make it their tool or their mask. Accordingly, 
when Kant brought philosophy again into repute, it had 
soon to become the tool of political aims from above, and 
personal aims from below ; although, strictly speaking, 
not philosophy itself, but its ghost, that passes for it 
This should not really astonish us; for the incredibly 
large majority of men are by nature quite incapable of 
any but material aims, indeed they can conceive no 
others. Thus the pursuit of truth alone is far too lofty 
and eccentric an endeavour for us to expect all or many, 
or indeed even a few, faithfully to take part in. If 
yet we see, as for example at present in Germany, a 


remarkable activity, a general moving, writing, and talk- 
ing with reference to philosophical subjects, we may 
confidently assume that, in spite of solemn looks and 
assurances, only real, not ideal aims, are the actual 
primum mobile, the concealed motive of such a move- 
ment ; that it is personal, official, ecclesiastical, political, 
in short, material ends that are really kept in view, and 
consequently that mere party ends set the pens of so many 
pretended philosophers in such rapid motion. Thus some 
design or intention, not the desire of insight, is the guiding 
star of these disturbers of the peace, and truth is certainly 
the last thing that is thought of in the matter. It finds 
no partisans ; rather, it may pursue its way as silently 
and unheeded through such a philosophical riot as 
through the winter night of the darkest century bound 
in the rigid faith of the church, when it was communicated 
only to a few alchemists as esoteric learning, or entrusted 
it may be only to the parchment. Indeed I might say 
that no time can be more unfavourable to philosophy 
than that in which it is shamefully misused, on the one 
hand to further political objects, on the other as a means 
of livelihood. Or is it believed that somehow, with such 
effort and such a turmoil, the truth, at which it by no 
means aims, will also be brought to light ? Truth is no 
prostitute, that throws herself away upon those who do 
not desire her ; she is rather so coy a beauty that he who 
sacrifices everything to her cannot even then be sure of 
her favour. 

If Governments make philosophy a means of further- 
ing political ends, learned men see in philosophical pro- 
fessorships a trade that nourishes the outer man just like 
any other ; therefore they crowd after them in the assur- 
ance of their good intentions, that is, the purpose of sub- 


serving these ends. And they keep their word: not 
truth, not clearness, not Plato, not Aristotle, but the ends 
they were appointed to serve are their guiding star, and 
become at once the criterion of what is true, valuable, 
and to be respected, and of the opposites of thesa What- 
ever, therefore, does not answer these ends, even if it were 
the most important and extraordinary things in their 
department, is either condemned, or, when this seems 
hazardous, suppressed by being unanimously ignored. 
Look only at their zeal against pantheism ; will any sim- 
pleton believe that it proceeds from conviction ? And, in 
general, how is it possible that philosophy, degraded to 
the position of a means of making one's bread, can fail 
to degenerate into sophistry ? Just because this is in- 
fallibly the case, and the rule, " I sing the song of him 
whose bread I eat," has always held good, the making of 
money by philosophy was regarded by the ancients as 
the characteristic of the sophists. But we have still to 
add this, that since throughout this world nothing is to 
be expected, can be demanded, or is to be had for gold 
but mediocrity, we must be contented with it here also. 
Consequently we see in all the German universities the 
cherished mediocrity striving to produce the philosophy 
which as yet is not there to produce, at its own expense 
and indeed in accordance with a predetermined standard 
and aim, a spectacle at which it would be almost cruel 
to mock. 

While thus philosophy has long been obliged to serve 
entirely as a means to public ends on the one side and 
private ends on the other, I have pursued the course of 
my thought, undisturbed by them, for more than thirty 
years, and simply because I was obliged to do so and 
could not help myself, from an instinctive impulse, which 


was, however, supported by the confidence that anything 
true one may have thought, and anything obscure one 
may have thrown light upon, will appeal to any think- 
ing mind, no matter when it comprehends it, and will 
rejoice and comfort it. To such an one we speak as 
those who are like us have spoken to us, and have so 
become our comfort in the wilderness of this life. Mean- 
while the object is pursued on its own account and for its 
own sake. Now it happens curiously enough with philo- 
sophical meditations, that precisely that which one has 
thought out and investigated for oneself, is afterwards of 
benefit to others ; not that, however, which was originally 
intended for others. The former is confessedly nearest 
in character to perfect honesty ; for a man does not seek 
to deceive himself, nor does he offer himself empty husks; 
so that all sophistication and all mere talk is omitted, 
and consequently every sentence that is written at once 
repays the trouble of reading it. Thus my writings bear 
the stamp of honesty and openness so distinctly on the 
face of them, that by this alone they are a glaring con- 
trast to those of three celebrated sophists of the post- 
Kantian period. I am always to be found at the stand- 
point of reflection, i.e., rational deliberation and honest 
statement, never at that of inspiration, called intellectual 
intuition, or absolute thought ; though, if it received its 
proper name, it would be called empty bombast and char- 
latanism. Working then in this spirit, and always see- 
ing the false and bad in universal acceptance, yea, bom- 
bast 1 and charlatanism 2 in the highest honour, I have 
long renounced the approbation of my contemporaries. It 
is impossible that an age which for twenty years has 
applauded a Hegel, that intellectual Caliban, as the 

1 Fichte and Schelling. 3 Hegel. 


greatest of the philosophers, so loudly that it echoes 
through the whole of Europe, could make him who has 
looked on at that desirous of its approbation. It has no 
more crowns of honour to bestow ; its applause is pros- 
tituted, and its censure has no significance. That I mean 
what I say is attested by the fact that if I had in any 
way sought the approbation of my contemporaries, I 
would have had to strike out a score of passages which 
entirely contradict all their opinions, and indeed must in 
part be offensive to them. But I would count it a crime 
to sacrifice a single syllable to that approbation. My 
guiding star has, in all seriousness, been truth. Following 
it, I could first aspire only to my own approbation, entirely 
averted from an age deeply degraded as regards all higher 
intellectual efforts, and a national literature demoralised 
even to the exceptions, a literature in which the ait of 
combining lofty words with paltry significance has reached 
its height. I can certainly never escape from the errors 
and weaknesses which, in my case as in every one else's, 
necessarily belong to my nature ; but I will not increase 
them by unworthy accommodations. 

As regards this second edition, first of all I am glad 
to say that after five and twenty years I find nothing to 
retract; so that my fundamental convictions have only 
been confirmed, as far as concerns myself at least. The 
alterations in the first volume therefore, which contains 
the whole text of the first edition, nowhere touch what 
is essential. Sometimes they concern things of merely 
secondary importance, and more often consist of very 
short explanatory additions inserted here and thera 
Only the criticism of the Kantian philosophy has re- 
ceived important corrections and large additions, for these 
could not be put into a supplementary book, such as 


those which are given in the second volume, and which 
correspond to each of the four books that contain the 
exposition of my own doctrine. In the case of the latter, 
I have chosen this form of enlarging and improving them, 
because the five and twenty years that have passed since 
they were composed have produced so marked a change 
in my method of exposition and in my style, that it would 
not have done to combine the content of the second volume 
with that of the first, as both must have suffered by the 
fusion. I therefore give both works separately, and in 
the earlier exposition, even in many places where I would 
now express myself quite differently, I have changed 
nothing, because I desired to guard against spoiling the 
work of my earlier years through the carping criticism of 
age. What in this regard might need correction will 
correct itself in the mind of the reader with the help of 
the second volume. Both volumes have, in the full sense 
of the word, a supplementary relation to each other, so far 
as this rests on the fact that one age of human life is, 
intellectually, the supplement of another. It will there- 
fore be found, not only that each volume contains what 
the other lacks, but that the merits of the one consist 
peculiarly in that which is wanting in the other. Thus, 
if the first half of my work surpasses the second in what 
can only be supplied by the fire of youth and the energy 
of first conceptions, the second will surpass the first by 
the ripeness and complete elaboration of the thought 
which can only belong to the fruit of the labour of a long 
life. For when I had the strength originally to grasp 
the fundamental thought of my system, to follow it at 
once into its four branches, to return from them to the 
unity of their origin, and then to explain the whole dis- 
tinctly, I could not yet be in a position to work out all 


the branches of the system with the fulness, thorough- 
ness, and elaborateness which is only reached by the 
meditation of many years — meditation which is required 
to test and illustrate the system by innumerable facts, to 
support it by the most different kinds of proof, to throw 
light on it from all sides, and then to place the different 
points of view boldly in contrast, to separate thoroughly 
the multifarious materials, and present them in a well- 
arranged whole. Therefore, although it would, no doubt, 
have been more agreeable to the reader to have my whole 
work in one piece, instead of consisting, as it now does, 
of two halves, which must be combined in using them, he 
must reflect that this would have demanded that I should 
accomplish at one period of life what it is only possible 
to accomplish in two, for I would have had to possess 
the qualities at one period of life that nature has divided 
between two quite different ones. Hence the necessity 
of presenting my work in two halves supplementary to 
each other may be compared to the necessity in conse- 
quence of which a chromatic object-glass, which cannot 
be made out of one piece, is produced by joining together 
a convex lens of flint glass and a concave lens of crown 
glass, the combined effect of which is what was sought. 
Yet, on the other hand, the reader will find some com- 
pensation for the inconvenience of using two volumes at 
once, in the variety and the relief which is afforded by 
the handling of the same subject, by the same mind, in 
the same spirit, but in very different years. However, it 
is very advisable that those who are not yet acquainted 
with my philosophy should first of all read the first 
volume without using the supplementary books, and 
should make use of these only on a second perusal; 
otherwise it would be too difficult for them to grasp the 


system in its connection. For it is only thus explained 
in the first volume, while the second is devoted to a more 
detailed investigation and a complete development of the 
individual doctrines. Even those who should not make 
up their minds to a second reading of the first volume had 
hetter not read the second volume till after the first, and 
then for itself, in the ordinary sequence of its chapters, 
which, at any rate, stand in some kind of connection, 
though a somewhat looser one, the gaps of which they 
will fully supply by the recollection of the first volume, 
if they have thoroughly comprehended it. Besides, they 
will find everywhere the reference to the corresponding 
passages of the first volume, the paragraphs of which I 
have numbered in the second edition for this purpose, 
though in the first edition they were only divided by 

I have already explained in the preface to the first 
edition, that my philosophy is founded on that of Kant, 
and therefore presupposes a thorough knowledge of it. 
I repeat this here. For Kant's teaching produces in the 
mind of every one who has comprehended it a funda- 
mental change which is so great that it may be regarded 
as an intellectual new-birth. It alone is able really to 
remove the inborn realism which proceeds from the 
original character of the intellect, which neither Berkeley 
nor Malebranche succeed in doing, for they remain too 
much in the universal, while Kant goes into the parti- 
cular, and indeed in a way that is quite unexampled 
both before and after him, and which has quite a peculiar, 
and, we might say, immediate effect upon the mind in 
consequence of which it undergoes a complete undecep- 
tion, and forthwith looks at all things in another light. 
Only in this way can any one become susceptible to the 


more positive expositions which I have to give. On the 
other hand, he who has not mastered the Kantian philo- 
sophy, whatever else he may have studied, is, as it were, 
in a state of innocence ; that is to say, he remains in the 
grasp of that natural and childish realism in which we 
are all born, and which fits us for everything possible, 
with the single exception of philosophy. Such a man 
then stands to the man who knows the Kantian philo- 
sophy as a minor to a man of full age. That this truth 
should nowadays sound paradoxical, which would not 
have been the case in the first thirty years after the 
appearance of the Critique of Reason, is due to the fact 
that a generation has grown up that does not know Kant 
properly, because it has never heard more of him than a 
hasty, impatient lecture, or an account at second-hand ; 
and this again is due to the fact that in consequence of 
bad guidance, this generation has wasted its time with 
the philosophemes of vulgar, uncalled men, or even 
of bombastic sophists, which are unwarrantably com- 
mended to it. Hence the confusion of fundamental 
conceptions, and in general the unspeakable crudeness 
and awkwardness that appears from under the covering 
of affectation and pretentiousness in the philosophical 
attempts of the generation thus brought up. But who- 
ever thinks he can learn Kant's philosophy from the ex- 
position of others makes a terrible mistake. Nay, rather 
I must earnestly warn against such accounts, especially 
the more recent ones ; and indeed in the years just past 
I have met with expositions of the Kantian philosophy 
in the writings of the Hegelians which actually reach the 
incredible. How should the minds that in the freshness 
of youth have been strained and ruined by the nonsense 
of Hegelism, be still capable of following Kant's profound 


investigations ? They are early accustomed to take the 
hollowest jingle of words for philosophical thoughts, the 
most miserable sophisms for acuteness, and silly conceits 
for dialectic, and their minds are disorganised through 
the admission of mad combinations of words to which 
the mind torments and exhausts itself in vain to attach 
some thought. No Critique of Eeason can avail them, no 
philosophy, they need a medicina mentis, first as a sort of 
purgative, un petit cours de senscommunologie, and then one 
must further see whether, in their case, there can even 
be any talk of philosophy. The Kantian doctrine then 
will be sought for in vain anywhere else but in Kant's 
own works ; but these are throughout instructive, even 
where he errs, even where he fails. In consequence of 
his originality, it holds good of him in the highest degree, 
as indeed of all true philosophers, that one can only 
come to know them from their own works, not from the 
accounts of others. For the thoughts of any .extraordi- 
nary intellect cannot stand being filtered through the 
vulgar mind. Born behind the broad, high, finely-arched 
brow, from under which shine beaming eyes, they lose 
all power and life, and appear no longer like themselves, 
when removed to the narrow lodging and low roofing of 
the confined, contracted, thick-walled skull from which 
dull glances steal directed to personal ends. Indeed we 
may say that minds of this kind act like an uneven glass, 
in which everything is twisted and distorted, loses the 
regularity of its beauty, and becomes a caricature. Only 
from their authors themselves can we receive philoso- 
phical thoughts ; therefore whoever feels himself drawn 
to philosophy must himself seek out its immortal teachers 
in the still sanctuary of their works. The principal 
chapters of any one of these true philosophers will afford 


a thousand times more insight into their doctrines than 
the heavy and distorted accounts of them that everyday 
men produce, who are still for the most part deeply en- 
tangled in the fashionable philosophy of the time, or in 
the sentiments of their own minds. But it is astonish- 
ing how decidedly the public seizes by preference on 
these expositions at second-hand. It seems really as if 
elective affinities were at work here, by virtue of which 
the common nature is drawn to its like, and therefore will 
rather hear what a great man has said from one of its 
own kind. Perhaps this rests on the same principle as 
that of mutual instruction, according to which children 
learn best from children. 

One word more for the professors of philosophy. I 
have always been compelled to admire not merely the 
sagacity, the true and fine tact with which, immediately 
on its appearance, they recognised my philosophy as 
something altogether different from and indeed dangerous 
to their own attempts, or, in popular language, something 
that would not suit their turn ; but also the sure and 
astute policy by virtue of which they at once discovered 
the proper procedure with regard to it, the complete har- 
mony with which they applied it, and the persistency 
with which they have remained faithful to it. This pro- 
cedure, which further commended itself by the great ease 
of carrying it out, consists, as is well known, in altogether 
ignoring and thus in secreting — according to Goethe's 
malicious phrase, which just means the appropriating of 
what is of weight and significance. The efficiency of 
this quiet means is increased by the corybantic shouts 
with which those who are at one reciprocally greet the 
birth of their own spiritual children— shouts which com- 


pel the public to look and note the air of importance 
with which they congratulate themselves on the event. 
Who can mistake the object of such proceedings ? Is 
there then nothing to oppose to the maxim, primum 
vivere, delude phUosophari t These gentlemen desire to 
live, and indeed to live by philosophy. To philosophy 
they are assigned with their wives and children, and in 
spite of Petrarch's povera e nuda vai filosofia, they have 
staked everything upon it. Now my philosophy is by 
no means so constituted that any one can live by it. It 
lacks the first indispensable requisite of a well-paid pro- 
fessional philosophy, a speculative theology, which — in 
spite of the troublesome Kant with his Critique of Eeason 

should and must, it is supposed, be the chief theme 

of all philosophy, even if it thus takes on itself the task 
of talking straight on of that of which it can know abso- 
lutely nothing. Indeed my philosophy does not permit 
to the professors the fiction they have so cunningly 
devised, and which has become so indispensable to them, 
of a reason that knows, perceives, or apprehends imme- 
diately and absolutely. This is a doctrine which it is only 
necessary to impose upon the reader at starting, in order 
to pass in the most comfortable manner in the world, as 
it were in a chariot and four, into that region beyond 
the possibility of all experience, which Kant has wholly 
and for ever shut out from our knowledge, and in which 
are found immediately revealed and most beautifully 
arranged the fundamental dogmas of modern, Judaising, 
optimistic Christianity. Now what in the world has my 
subtle philosophy, deficient as it is in these essential 
requisites, with no intentional aim, and unable to afford 
a means of subsistence, whose pole star is truth alone 


the naked, unrewarded, unbefriended, often persecuted 
truth, and which steers straight for it without looking to 
the right hand or the left, — what, I say, has this to do 
with that alma mater, the good, well-to-do university 
philosophy which, burdened with a hundred aims and a 
thousand motives, comes on its course cautiously tacking, 
while it keeps before its eyes at all times the fear of the 
Lord, the will of the ministry, the laws of the established 
church, the wishes of the publisher, the attendance of the 
students, the goodwill of colleagues, the course of current 
politics, the momentary tendency of the public, and Heaven 
knows what besides ? Or what has my quiet, earnest search 
for truth in common with the noisy scholastic disputations 
of the chair and the benches, the inmost motives of 
which are always personal aims. The two kinds of 
philosophy are, indeed, radically different Thus it is 
that with me there is no compromise and no fellowship, 
that no one reaps any benefit from my works but the 
man who seeks the truth alone, and therefore none of the 
philosophical parties of the day ; for they all follow their 
own aims, while I have only insight into truth to offer, 
which suits none of these aims, because it is not modelled 
after any of them. If my philosophy is to become 
susceptible of professorial exposition, the times must 
entirely change. What a pretty thing it would be if a 
philosophy by which nobody could live were to gain for 
itself light and air, not to speak of the general ear! 
This must be guarded against, and all must oppose it as 
one man. But it is not just such an easy game to con- 
trovert and refute ; and, moreover, these are mistaken 
means to employ, because they just direct the attention 
of the public to the matter, and its taste for the lucubra- 


tions of the professors of philosophy might be destroyed 
by the perusal of my writings. For whoever has tasted 
of earnest will not relish jest, especially when it is tire- 
some. Therefore the silent system, so unanimously 
adopted, is the only right one, and I can only advise 
them to stick to it and go on with it as long as it will 
answer, that is, until to ignore is taken to imply ignor- 
ance ; then there will just be time to turn back. Mean- 
while it remains open to every one to pluck out a small 
feather here and there for his own use, for the superfluity 
of thoughts at home should not be very oppressive. Thus 
the ignoring and silent system may hold out a good 
while, at least the span of time I may have yet to live, 
whereby much is already won. And if, in the mean- 
time, here and there an indiscreet voice has let itself be 
heard, it is soon drowned by the loud talking of the pro- 
fessors, who, with important airs, know how to entertain 
the public with very different things. I advise, how- 
ever, that the unanimity of procedure should be some- 
what more strictly observed, and especially that the 
young men should be looked after, for they are sometimes 
so fearfully indiscreet. For even so I cannot guarantee 
that the commended procedure will last for ever, and 
cannot answer for the final issue. It is a nice question 
as to the steering of the public, which, on the whole, is 
good and tractable. Although we nearly at all times see 
the Gorgiases and the Hippiases uppermost, although the 
absurd, as a rule, predominates, and it seems impossible 
that the voice of the individual can ever penetrate 
through the chorus of the befooling and the befooled, 
there yet remains to the genuine works of every age a 
quite peculiar, silent, slow, and powerful influence ; and, 


as if by a miracle, we see them rise at last out of the 
turmoil like a balloon that floats up out of the thick 
atmosphere of this globe into purer regions, where, hav- 
ing once arrived, it remains at rest, and no one can draw 
it down again. 

Written at Frankfort-on-thc- Maine 
in February 1 844. 

jFirst Booft, 




Sors de l'enfance, ami reveille toi ! 

— Jean Jacques Rousseau. 

VOL. I. 

§ I. " The world is my idea : " — this is a truth 
which holds good for everything that lives and knows, 
though man alone can bring it into reflective and abstract 
consciousness. If he really does this, he has attained to 
philosophical wisdom. It then becomes clear and certain 
to him that what he knows is not a sun and an earth, 
but only an eye that sees a sun^ a hand that feels an 
earth ; that the world which surrounds him is there only 
as idea, i.e., only in relation to something else, the con- 
sciousness, which is himself. If any truth can be asserted 
a priori, it is this : for it is the expression of the most 
general form of all possible and thinkable experience: 
a form which is more general than time, or space, or 
causal ity, for they all presuppo se it; and each of these, 
which we have seen to be just so many modes of the 
principle of sufficient reason, is valid only for a particular 
class of ideas ; whereas the antithesis of object and 
subject is the common form of all these classes, is that 
form under which alone any idea of whatever kind it 
may be, abstract or intuitive, pure or empirical, is possible 
and thinkable. HP- truth therefore is more certain, more 
independent, of all others, and less in need of proof than 
this, that J all that exists for knowledge, and therefore 
this whole world, is only object in relation to subject, 
perception of a perceiver, in a word, idea. This is 
obviously true of the past and the future, as well as of 
the present, of what is farthest off, as of what is near ; j 
for it is true of time and space themselves, in which | 
alone these distinctions arise. All that in any way 


belongs or can belong to the world is inevitably thus 
conditioned through the subject, and exists only for the 
subject. The world is ide%j. 

This truth is by no means new. It was implicitly 
involved in the sceptical reflections from which Descartes 
started. Berkeley, however, was the first who distinctly 
enunciated it, and by this he has rendered a permanent 
service to philosophy, even though the rest of his teaching 
should not endure. Kant's primary mistake was the 
neglect of this principle, as is shown in the appendix. 
How early again this truth was recognised by the wise 
men of India, appearing indeed as the fundamental tenet 
of the Vedaiita philosophy ascribed to Vyasa, is pointed 
out by Sir William Jones in the last of his essays : " On 
the philosophy of the Asiatics " (Asiatic Eesearches, voL 
iv. p. 1 64), where he says, " The fundamental tenet of 
the Vedanta school consisted not in denying the exist- 
ence of matter, that is, of solidity, impenetrability, and 
extended figure (to deny which would be lunacy), but in 
correcting the popular notion of it, and in contending 
that it has no essence independent of mental perception ; 
that existence and perceptibility are convertible terms." 
These words adequately express the compatibility of 
empirical reality and transcendental ideality. 

In this first book, then, we consider the world only 
from this side, only so far as it is idea. The inward 
reluctance with which any one accepts the world as 
merely his idea, warns him that this view of it, however 
true it may be, is nevertheless one-sided, adopted in 
consequence of some arbitrary abstraction. And yet it 
is a conception from which he can never free himsel£ 
The defectiveness of this view will be corrected in the 
next book by means of a truth which is not so im- 
mediately certain as that from which we start here ; a 
truth at which we can arrive only by deeper research 
and more severe abstraction, by the separation of what 
is different and the union of what is identical. This 


truth, which must be very serious and impressive if not 
awful to every one, is that a man can also say and must 
say, " the world is my will." 

In this book, however, we must consider separately 
that aspect of the world from which we start, its aspect 
as knowable, and therefore, in the meantime, we must, 
without reserve, regard all presented objects, even our 
own bodies (as we shall presently show more fully), 
merely as ideas, and call them merely ideas. By so 
, doing we always abstract from will (as we hope to make 
clear to every one further on), which by itself constitutes 
the other aspect of the world. For as the world is in 
one aspect entirely idea, so in another it is entirely will. 
A reality which is neither of these two, but an object in 
itself (into which the thing in itself has unfortunately 
dwindled in the hands of Kant), is the phantom of a 
dream, and its acceptance is an ignis fatuus in philo- 

§ 2. That which knows all things and is known by 

none is the subject. Thus it is the supporter of the 

world, that condition of all phenomena, of all objects 

which is always pre- supposed throughout experience ; for 

all that exists, exists only for the subject. Every one 

finds himself to be subject, yet only in so far as he 

knows, not in so far as he is an object of knowledge. 

But his body is object, and therefore from this point of 

view we call it idea. For the body is an object among 

objects, and is conditioned by the laws of objects, although 

it is an immediate object. Like all objects of perception, 

; it lies within the universal forms of knowledge, time and 

! space, which are the conditions of multiplicity. The 

1 subject, on the contrary, which is always the knower, 

never the known, does not come under these forms, but 

is presupposed by them ; it has therefore neither niulti- 

yplicity nor its opposite unity. We never know it, but it \ 

R is always the knower wherever there is knowledge. 

So then the world as idea, the only aspect in which 


we consider it at present, has two fundamental, necessary, 
and inseparable halves. The one half is the object, the 
forms of which are space and time, and through these 
multiplicity. The other half is the subject, which is not 
in space and time, for it is present, entire and undivided, 
in every percipient being. So that any one percipient 
/ being, with the object, constitutes the whole world as 
idea just as fully as the existing millions could do ; but 
if this one were to disappear, then the whole world as 
idea would cease to be. These halves are therefore in- 
separable even for thought, for each of the two has 
meaning and existence only through and for the other, 
each appears with the other and vanishes with it They 
limit each other immediately ; where the object begins 
the subject ends. The universality of this limitation is 
shown by the fact tnatthe essential and hence universal 
forms of all objects, space, time, and causality, may, 
without knowledge of the object, be discovered and fully 
known from a consideration of the subject, ie., in Kan- 
tian language, they lie a priori in our consciousness. 
That he discovered this is one of Kant's principal merits, 
and it is a great one. I however go beyond this, and 
•maintain that the principIeT'of sufficient reason is the 
general expression for all these forms of the object of 
which we are a priori conscious ; and that therefore all 
that we know purely a priori, is merely the content of 
that principle and what follows from it; in it all our 
certain a priori knowledge is expressed. In my essay on 
the principle of sufficient reason I have shown in detail 
how every possible object comes under it ; that is, stands 
in a necessary relation to other objects, on the one side 
as determined, on the other side as determining : this is 
of such wide application, that the whole existence of all 
objects, so far as they are objects, ideas and nothing 
more, may be entirely traced to this their necessary 
relation to each other, rests only in it, is in fact merely 
relative; but of this more presently. I have further 


shown, that the necessary relation which the principle 
of sufficient reason expresses generally, appears in other 
forms corresponding to the classes into which objects are 
divided, according to their possibility ; and again that by 
these forms the proper division of the classes is tested. 
I take it for granted that what I said in this earlier 
essay is known and present to the reader, for if it had 
not been alreaay said it would necessarily find its place 

§ 3. The chief distinction among our ideas is that 
between ideas of perception and abstract ideas. The 
latter form just one class of ideas, namely concepts, and 
these are the possession of man alone of all creatures 
upon earth. The capacity for these, which distinguishes 
him from all the lower animals, has always been called 
reason. 1 We shall consider these abstract ideas by 
themselves later, but, in the first place, we shall speak 
exclusively of the ideas of perception. These comprehend 
the whole visible world, or the sum total of experience, 
with the conditions of its possibility. We have already 
observed that it is a highly important discovery of Kant's, 
that these very conditions, these forms of the visible world, 
i.e. t the absolutely universal element in its perception, 
the common property of all its phenomena, space and time, 
even when taken by themselves and apart from their con- 
tent, can, not only be thought in the abstract, but also 
be directly perceived ; and that this perception or intuition 
is not some kind of phantasm arising from constant re- 
currence in experience, but is so entirely independent of 
experience that we must rather regard the latter as de- 
pendent on it, inasmuch as the qualities of space and 
time, as they are known in a priori perception or intui* 
tion, are valid for all possible experience, as rules to 
which it must invariably conform. Accordingly, in my 

1 Kant is the only writer who my " Grundprobleme der Ethik " : 

has confused this idea of reason, Grundl. dd. Moral. §6, pp. 148-154, 

and in this connection I refer the first and second editions, 
reader to the Appendix, and also to 


essay on the principle of sufficient reason, I have treated 
space and time, because they are perceived as pure and 
empty of content, as a special and independent class of 
ideas. This quality of the universal forms of intuition, 
which was discovered by Kant, that they may be per- 
ceived in themselves and apart from experience, and that 
they may be known as exhibiting those laws on which is 
founded the infallible science of mathematics, is certainly 
very important. JNpt less worthy of remark, however, is 
this other quality of time and space, that the principle of 
sufficient reason, which conditions experience as the law 
of causation and of motive, and thought as the law of the 
basis of judgment, appears here in quite a special form, 
to which I have given the name of the ground of being. 
In time, this is the succession of its moments, and in 
space the position of its parts, which reciprocally deter- 
mine each other ad infinitum. 

Any one who has fully understood from the introduc- 
tory essay the complete identity of the content of the 
principle of sufficient reason in all its different forms, 
must also be convinced of the importance of the know- 
ledge of the simplest of these forms, as affording him 
insight into his own inmost nature. This simplest form 
of the principle we have found to be time. In it each 
instant is, only in so far as it has effaced the preceding 
one, its generator, to be itself in turn as quickly effaced. 
The past and the future (considered apart from the con- 
sequences of their content) are empty as a dream, and the 
present is only the indivisible and uuenduring boundary 
between them. And in all the other forms of the prin- 
ciple of sufficientr&ason, we shall find the same empti- 
ness, and shall see that not time only but also space, and 
the whole content of both of them, i.e., all that proceeds 
from causes and motives, has a merely relative existence, 
is only through and for another like to itself, i.e., not 
more enduring. The substance of this doctrine is old : 
it appears in Heraclitus when he laments the eternal 


flux of things ; in Plato when he degrades the object to 
that which is ever becoming, but never being ; in Spinoza 
as the doctrine of the mere accidents of the one sub- 
stance which is and endures. Kant opposes what is 
thus known as the mere phenomenon to the thing in it- 
self. Lastly, the ancient wisdom of the Indian philoso- 
phers declares, " It is Maya, the veil of deception, which 
blinds the eyes of mortals, and makes them behold a 
world of which they cannot say either that it is or that it 
is not : for it is like a dream ; it is like the sunshine 
on the sand which the traveller takes from afar for 
water, or the stray piece of rope he mistakes for a snake." 
(These similes are repeated in innumerable passages of 
the Vedas and the Puranas.) But what all these mean, 
and that of which they all speak, is nothing more than 
what we have just considered — the world as idea subject 
to the principle of sufficient reason. 

§ 4. Whoever has recognised the form of the principle 
of sufficient reason, which appears in pure time as such, 
and on which all counting and arithmetical calculation 
rests, has completely mastered the nature of time. JHsue_ 
\J is nothing more than that form of the principle of suffi- 
cient reason, and has no further significance. Succession 
is the form of the principle of sufficient reason in time, 
and succession is the whole nature of time. Further, 
whoever has recognised the principle of sufficient reason 
as it appears in the presentation of pure space, has 
exhausted the whole nature of space, which is absolutely 
nothing more than that possibility of the reciprocal deter- 
mination of its parts by each other, which is called posi- 
tion. The detailed treatment of this, and the formulation 
in abstract conceptions of the results which flow from 
it, so that they may be more conveniently used, is the 
subject of the science of geometry. Thus also, whoever 
has recognised the law of causation^ the' - aspect of the 
principle of sufficient reason which appears in what fills 
these forms (space and time) as objects of perception, 



that is to say matter, has completely mastered the nature 
of matter as such, for matter is nothing more than causa- 
tion, as any one will see at once if he reflects. Its true 
S being is its action, nor can we possibly conceive it as 
having any other meaning. Only as active does it fill 
space and time; its action upon the immediate object 
(which is itself matter) determines that perception in 
which alone it exists. The consequence of the action of 
any material object upon any other, is known only in so 
far as the latter acts upon the immediate object in a 
different way from that in which it acted before; it 
consists only of this. Cause and effect thus constitute 
the whole nature of matter ; its true being is its action. 
(A fuller treatment of this will be found in the essay on 
the Principle of Sufficient Keason, § 21, p. 77.) The 
nature of all material things is therefore very appro- 
priately called in German WirUichUit} a word which is 
far more expressive than Healitdt. Again, that which is 
acted upon is always matter, and thus the whole being 
and essence of matter consists in the orderly change, 
which one part of it brings about in another part. The 
existence of matter is therefore entirely relative, accord- 
ing to a relation which is valid only within its limits, as 
in the case of time and space. 

But time and space, each for itself, can be mentally 
presented apart from matter, whereas matter cannot be 
so presented apart from time and space. The form 
which is inseparable from it presupposes space, and the 
action in which its very existence consists, always im- 
ports some change, in other words a determination in 
time. But space and time are not only, each for itself, 
presupposed by matter, but a union of the two constitutes 
its essence, for this, as we have seen, consists in action, 
t.e., in causation. All the innumerable conceivable 
phenomena and conditions of things, might be coexistent 

J Mira in quibusdam rebus rer- sermonis antiqui qusedam efficacis- 
borum propriety est, et consuetude simis notis signat. Seneca, epist. 81. 


in boundless space, without limiting each other, or might 
be successive in endless time without interfering with 
each other : thus a necessary relation of these phenomena 
to each other, and a law which should regulate them 
according to such a relation, is by no means needful, 
would not, indeed, be applicable: it therefoiu follows 
that in the case of all co-existence in space and change 
in time, so long as each of these forms preserves for 
itself its condition and its course without any connection 
with the other, there can be no causation, and since 
causation constitutes the essential nature of matter, there 
can be no matter. But the law of causation receives its 
meaning and necessity^only from this, that the essence 
of change does not consist simply in the mere variation 
of things, but rather in the fact that at the same part of 
space there is now one thing and then another, and at one 
and the same point of time there is here one thing and 
there another: only this reciprocal limitation of space 
and time by each other gives meaning, and at the same 
time necessity, to a law, according to which change must 
take place. What is determined by the law of causality 
is therefore not merely a succession of things in time, 
but this succession with reference to a definite space, 
and not merely existence of things in a particular place, 
but in this place at a different point of time. Change, 
ie., variation which takes place according to the law of 
causality, implies always a determined part of space and 
a determined part of time together and in union. Thus 
causality unites space with time. But we found that 
the whole essence of matter consisted in action, i.e., in 
causation, consequently space and time must also be 
united in matter, that is to say, matter must take to 
itself at once the distinguishing qualities both of space 
and time, however much these may be opposed to each 
other, and must unite in itself what is impossible for 
each of these independently, that is, the fleeting course 
of time, with the rigid unchangeable perduration of 


space : infinite divisibility it receives from both. It is 
for this reason that we find that co-existence, which 
could neither be in time alone, for time has no contiguity, 
nor in space alone, for space has no before, after, or now, 
is first established through matter. But the co-existence 
of many things constitutes, in fact, the essence of reality, 
for through it permanence first becomes possible; for 
permanence is only knowable in the change of some- 
thing which is present along with what is permanent, 
while on the other hand it is only because something 
permanent is present along with what changes, that the 
latter gains the special character of change, i.e. y the muta- 
tion of quality and form in the permanence of substance, 
that is to say, in matter. 1 If the world were in space 
alone, it would be rigid and immovable, without succes- 
sion, without change, without action ; but we know that 
with action, the idea of matter first appears. Again, if 
the world were in time alone, all would be fleeting, with- 
out persistence, without contiguity, hence without co- 
existence, and consequently without permanence; so 
that in this case also there would be no matter. Only 
through the union of space and time do we reach matter, 
and matter is the possibility of co-existence, and, through 
that, of permanence ; through permanence again matter 
is the possibility of the persistence of substance in the 
change of its states. 2 As matter consists in the union 
of space and time, it bears throughout the stamp of both. 
It manifests its origin in space, partly through the form 
which is inseparable from it, but especially through its 
persistence (substance), the a priori certainty of which 
is therefore wholly deducible from that of space 8 (for 
variation belongs to time alone, but in it alone and for 
itself nothing is persistent). Matter shows that it springs 

1 It is shown in the Appendix space," for motion consists simply 

that matter and substance are one. in the union of space and time. 

a This shows the ground of the » Not, as Kant holds, from the 
Kantian explanation of matter, that knowledge of time, as will be ex- 
it is " that which fe movable in plained in the Appendix. 


from time by quality (accidents), without which it never 
exists, and which is plainly always causality, action upon 
other matter, and therefore change (a time concept). The 
law of this action, however, always depends upon space 
and time together, and only thus obtains meaning. The 
regulative function of causality is confined entirely to 
the determination of what must occupy this time and this 
space. The fact that we know a priori the unalterable 
characteristics of matter, depends upon this derivation of 
its essential nature from the forms of our knowledge of 
which we are conscious a priori. These unalterable 
characteristics are space- occupation, i.e., impenetrability, 
i.e., causal action, consequently, extension, infinite divisi- 
bility, persistence, i.e., indestructibility, and lastly mo- 
bility: weight, on the other hand, notwithstanding its 
universality, must be attributed to a posteriori knowledge, 
although Kant, in his " Metaphysical Introduction to 
Natural Philosophy," p. 71 (p. 372 of Kosenkranz's 
edition), treats it as knowable a priori. 

But as the object in general is only for the subject, as 
its idea, so every special class of ideas is only for an 
equally special quality in the subject, which is called a 
faculty of perception. This subjective correlative of 
time and space in themselves as empty forms, has been 
named by Kant pure sensibility ; and we may retain this 
expression, as Kant was the first to treat of the subject, 
though it is not exact, for sensibility presupposes matter. 
The_ subjective correlative of matter or of causation, for 
these two are the same, is understanding, which is no- 
thing more than this. To know causality is its one 
function, its only power ; and it is a great one, embracing 
much, of manifold application, yet of unmistakable iden- 
tity in all its manifestations. Conversely all causation, 
that is to say, all matter, or the whole of reality, is only 
for the understanding, through the understanding, and in 
the understanding. The first, simplest, and ever-present 
example of understanding is the perception of the actual 


world. This is throughout knowledge of the cause from 
the effect, and therefore all perception is intellectual 
The understanding could never arrive at this perception, 
however, if some effect did not become known immedi- 
ately, and thus serve as a starting-point But this is the 
affection of the animal body, gojar, then, the animal 
body is the immediate object of the subject ; the percep- 
tion of all other objects becomes possible through it 
The changes which every animal body experiences, are 
immediately known, that is, felt; and as these effects are 
at once referred to their causes, the perception of the 
latter as objects arises. This relation is no conclusion in 
abstract conceptions; it does not arise from reflection, 
nor is it arbitrary, but immediate, necessary, and certain. 
It is the method of knowing of the pure understanding, 
without which there could be no perception ; there would 
only remain a dull plant-like consciousness of the 
changes of the immediate object, which would succeed 
each other in an utterly unmeaning way, except in so 
far as they might have a meaning for the will either as 
pain or pleasure. But as with the rising of the sun the 
visible world appears^ so at one stroke, the understand- 
ing, by means of its one simple function, changes the 
dull, meaningless sensation into perception. What the 
eye, the ear, or the hand feels, is not perception ; it is 
merely its data. By_the understanding passing from the 
effect to the cause, the world first appears as perception 
extended in space, varying in respect of form, persistent 
through all time in respect of matter; for the understand- 
ing unites space and time in the idea of matter, that is, 
causal action. As the world as idea exists only through 
the understanding, so also it exists only for the under- 
standing. In the first chapter of my essay on " Light 
and Colour," I have already explained how the under- 
standing constructs perceptions out of the data supplied 
by the senses ; how by comparison of the impressions 
which the various senses receive from the object, a child 


arrives at perceptions ; how this alone affords the solu- 
tion of so many phenomena of the senses ; the single 
vision of two eyes, the double vision in the case of a 
squint, or when we try to look at once at objects 
which lie at unequal distances behind each other ; and 
all illusion which is produced by a sudden alteration in 
the organs of sense. But I have treated this important 
subject much more fully and thoroughly in the second 
edition of the essay on " The Principle of Sufficient 
Beason," § 21. All that is said there would find its 
proper place here, and would therefore have to be said 
again ; but as I have almost as much disinclination to 
quote myself as to quote others, and as I am unable to 
explain the subject better than it is explained there, I 
refer the reader to it, instead of quoting it, and take for 
granted that it is known. 

The process by which children, and persons born 
blind who have been operated upon, learn to see, the 
single vision of the double sensation of two eyes, the 
double vision and double touch which occur when the 
organs of sense have been displaced from their usual 
position, the upright appearance of objects while the 
picture on the retina is upside down, the attributing of 
colour to the outward objects, whereas it is merely an 
inner function, a division through polarisation, of the 
activity of the eye, and lastly the stereoscope, — -all 
these are sure and incontrovertible evidence that per- 
ception is not merely of the senses, but intellectual — 
that is, pure knowledge through the understanding of the 
cause from the effect, and that, consequently, it pre- 
supposes the law of causality, in a knowledge of which 
all perception — that is to say all experience, by virtue 
of its primary and only possibility, depends. The con- 
trary doctrine that the law of causality results from 
experience, which was the scepticism of Hume, is first 
refuted by this. For the independence of the know- 
ledge of causality of all experience, — that is, its a priori 


character — can only be deduced from the dependence of 
all experience upon it ; and this deduction can only be 
accomplished by proving, in the manner here indicated, 
and explained in the passages referred to above, that 
the knowledge of causality is included in perception in 
general, to which all experience belongs, and therefore 
in respect of experience is completely a 'priori, does not 
presuppose it, but is presupposed by it as a condition. 
This, however, cannot be deduced in the manner at- 
tempted by Kant, which I have criticised in the essay 
on "The Principle of Sufficient Eeason," § 23. 

§ 5. It is needful to guard against the grave error of 
supposing that because perception arises through the 
knowledge of causality, the relation of subject and object 
is that of cause and effect. For this relation subsists 
only between the immediate object and objects known 
indirectly, thus always between objects alone. It is this 
false supposition that has given rise to the foolish con- 
troversy about the reality of the outer world ; a contro- 
versy in which dogmatism and scepticism oppose each 
other, and the former appears, now as realism, now as 
idealism. Eealism treats the object as cause, and the 
subject as its effect The idealism of Fichte reduces the 
object to the effect of the subject. Since however, and 
this cannot be too much emphasised, there is absolutely 
no relation according to the principle of sufficient reason 
between subject and object, neither of these views could 
be proved, and therefore scepticism attacked them both 
with success. Now, just as the law of causality pre- 
cedes perception an3 experience as their condition, and 
therefore cannot (as Hume thought) be derived from 
them, so object and subject precede all knowledge, and 
hence the principle of sufficient reason in general, as its 
first condition ; for this principle is merely the form of 
all objects, the whole nature and possibility of their 
existence as phenomena: but the object always pre- 
supposes the subject; and therefore between these two 


there can be no relation of reason and consequent. My 

7 essay on the principle of sufficient reason accomplishes 
just this : it explains the content of that principle as the 
essential form of every object — that is to say, as the 
universal nature of all objective existence, as something 
which pertains to the object as such ; but the object as 
such always presupposes the subject as its necessary 
correlative ; and therefore the subject remains always 
outside the province in which the principle of sufficient 
reason is valid. The controversy as to the reality of the 
outer world rests upon this false extension of the validity 
of the principle of sufficient reason to the subject also, 
and starting with this mistake it can never understand 
itself. On the one side realistic dogmatism, looking 
upon the idea as the effect of the object, desires to 
separate these two, idea and object, which are really one, 
and to assume a cause quite different from the idea, an 
object in itself, independent of the subject, a thing which 
is quite inconceivable ; for even as object it presupposes 
subject, and so remains its idea. Opposed to this doc- 
trine is scepticism, which makes the same false pre- 
supposition that in the idea we have only the effect, 
never the cause, therefore never real being; that we 
always know merely the action of the object. But this 
object, it supposes, may perhaps have no resemblance 
whatever to its effect, may indeed have been quite 
erroneously received as the cause, for the law of causality 
is first to be gathered from experience, and the reality of 
experience is then made to rest upon it. Thus both of 
these views are open to the correction, firstly, that object 
and idea are the same ; secondly, that the true being of 
the object of perception is its action, that the reality of 
the thing consists in this, and the demand for an ex- 
istence of the object outside the idea of the subject, and 
also for an essence of the actual thing different from its 
action, has absolutely no meaning, and is a contradiction : 
and that the knowledge of the nature of the effect of any 

VOL. I. B 


perceived object, exhausts such an object itself, so far as 
it is object, ie. t idea, for beyond this there is nothing 
more to be known. §o^far then, the perceived world in 
space and time, which makes itself known as causation 
alone, is entirely real, and is throughout simply what it 
appears to be, and it appears wholly and without reserve 
as idea, bound together according to the law of causality. 
This is its empirical reality. On the other hand, all 
causality is in the understanding alone, and for the 
understanding. The whole actual, that is, active world 
is determined as such through the understanding, and 
apart from it is nothing. This, however, is not the only 
reason for altogether denying such a reality of the outer 
world as is taught by the dogmatist, who explains its 
reality as its independence of the subject. We also 
deny it, because no object apart from a subject can be 
conceived without contradiction. The whole world of 
objects is and remains idea, and therefore wholly and for 
ever determined by the subject ; that is to say, it has 
transcendental ideality. But it is not therefore illusion 
or mere appearance ; it presents itself as that which it is, 
idea, and indeed as a series of ideas of which the common 
bond is the principle of sufficient reason. It is accord- 
ing to its inmost meaning quite comprehensible to the 
healthy understanding, and speaks a language quite 
intelligible to it. To dispute about its reality can only 
occur to a mind perverted by over-subtilty, and such 
discussion always arises from a false application of the 
principle of sufficient reason, which binds all ideas 
together of whatever kind they may be, but by no means 
connects them with the subject, nor yet with a something 
which is neither subject nor object, but only the ground 
of the object ; an absurdity, for only objects can be and 
always are the ground of objects. If we examine more 
closely the source of this question as to the reality of the 
outer world, we find that besides the false application 
of the principle of sufficient reason generally to what lies 


beyond its province, a special confusion of its forms is 
also involved ; for that form which it has only in reference 
to concepts or abstract ideas, is applied to perceived 
ideas, real objects; and a ground of knowing is de- 
manded of objects, whereas they can have nothing but a 
ground of being. Among the abstract ideas, the concepts 
united in the judgment, the principle of sufficient reason 
appears in such a way that each of these has its worth, 
its validity, and its whole existence, here called truth, 
simply and solely through the relation of the judgment 
to something outside of it, its ground of knowledge, to 
which there must consequently always be a return. 
Among real objects, ideas of perception, on the other 
hand, the principle of sufficient reason appears not as the 
principle of the ground of Jcnowing y but of being, as the 
law of causality : every real object has paid its debt to 
it, inasmuch as it has come to be, i.e., has appeared as 
the effect of a cause. The demand for a ground of know- 
ing has therefore here no application and no meaning, 
but belongs to quite another class of things. Thus the 
world of perception raises in the observer no question or 
doubt so long as he remains in contact with it : there is 
here neither error nor truth, for these are confined to 
the province of the abstract — the province of reflection. 
But here the world lies open for sense and understanding; 
presents itself with naive truth as that which it really 
is — ideas of perception which develop themselves accord- 
ing to the law of causality. 

So far as we have considered the question of the 
reality of the outer world, it arises from a confusion 
which amounts even to a misunderstanding of reason 
itself, and therefore thus far, the question could be 
answered only by explaining its meaning. After exami- 
nation of the whole nature of the principle of sufficient 
reason, of the relation of subject and object, and the 
special conditions of sense perception, the question itself 
disappeared because it had no longer any meaning. There 


is, however, one other possible origin of tin's question, 
quite different from the purely speculative one which we 
have considered, a specially empirical origin, though the 
question is always raised from a speculative point of view, 
and in this form it has a much more comprehensible mean- 
ing than it had in the first. We have dreams ; may not 
our whole life be a dream ? or more exactly : is there a 
sure criterion of the distinction between dreams and reality? 
between phantasms and real objects ? The assertion that 
what is dreamt is less vivid and distinct than what we ac- 
tually perceive is not to the point, because no one has ever 
been able to make a fair comparison of the two ; for we 
can only compare the recollection of a dream with the 
present reality. Kant answers the question thus : " The 
connection of ideas among themselves, according to the 
law of causality, constitutes the difference between real 
life and dreams." But in dreams, as well as in real life, 
everything is connected individually at any rate, in 
accordance with the principle of sufficient reason in all 
its forms, and this connection is broken only between 
life and dreams, or between one dream and another. 
Kant's answer therefore could only run thus : — the long 
dream (life) has throughout complete connection accord- 
ing to the principle of sufficient reason ; it has not this 
connection, however, with short dreams, although each of 
these has in itself the same connection: the bridge is 
therefore broken between the former and the latter, and 
on this account we distinguish them. 

But to institute an inquiry according to this criterion, 
as to whether something was dreamt or seen, would 
always be difficult and often impossible. For we are by 
no means in a position to trace link by link the causal 
connection between any experienced event and the present 
moment, but we do not on that account explain it as 
dreamt. Therefore in real life we do not commonly 
employ that method of distinguishing between dreams 
and reality. The only sure criterion by which to dis- 


tinguish them is in fact the entirely empirical one of 
awaking, through which at any rate the causal connec- 
tion between dreamed events and those of waking life, is 
distinctly and sensibly broken off. This is strongly 
supported by the remark of Hobbes in the second chapter 
of Leviathan, that we easily mistake dreams for reality 
if we have unintentionally fallen asleep without taking 
off our clothes, and much more so when it also happens 
that some undertaking or design fills all our thoughts, 
and occupies our dreams as well as our waking moments. 
We then observe the awaking just as little as the falling 
asleep, dream and reality run together and become con- 
founded. In such a case there is nothing for it but the 
application of Kant's criterion ; but if, as often happens, 
we fail to establish by means of this criterion, either the 
existence of causal connection with the present, or the 
absence of such connection, then it must for ever remain 
uncertain whether an event was dreamt or really hap- 
pened. Here, in fact, the intimate relationship between 
life and dreams is brought out very clearly, and we need 
not be ashamed to confess it, as it has been recognised 
and spoken of by many great men. The Vedas and 
Puranas have no better simile than a dream for the 
whole knowledge of the actual world, which they call 
the web of Maya, and they use none more frequently. 
Plato often says that men live only in a dream; the 
philosopher alone strives to awake himself. Pindar 
says (ii 17. 1 3 5) : a kick ovap avdpcoTros (umbrse somnium 
homo), and Sophocles : — 

*0*u yu.g r)[iag ovdzv ovras aKko, nXvjv 

2/5wa' oaoiirto ZuiAtv, r\ xwpriv ffuav. — Ajax, 125. 

(Nos enim, quicunque vivimus, nihil aliud esse comperio 
quam simulacra et levem umbram.) Beside which most 
worthily stands Shakespeare : — 

11 We are such stuff 
As dreams are made on, and our little life 
la rounded with a sleep." — Tempest, Act iv. Sc I. 


Lastly, Calderon was so deeply impressed with this view 
of life that he sought to embody it in a kind of meta- 
physical drama — " Life a Dream." 

After these numerous quotations from the poets, per- 
haps I also may be allowed to express myself by a 
metaphor. Life and dreams are leaves of the same book. 
The systematic reading of this book is real life, but when 
the reading hours (that is, the day) are over, we often 
continue idly to turn over the leaves, and read a page 
here and there without method or connection : often one 
we have read before, sometimes one that is new to us, 
but always in the same book. Such an isolated page is 
indeed out of connection with the systematic study of 
the book, but it does not seem so very different when 
we remember that the whole continuous perusal begins 
and ends just as abruptly, and may therefore be re- 
garded as merely a larger single page. 

Thus although individual dreams are distinguished from 
real life by the fact that they do not fit into that con- 
tinuity which runs through the whole of experience, and 
the act of awaking brings this into consciousness, yet that 
very continuity of experience belongs to real life as its 
form, and the dream on its part can point to a similar 
continuity in itself. If, therefore, we consider the ques- 
tion from a point of view external to both, there is no 
distinct difference in their nature, and we are forced to 
concede to the poets that life is a long dream. 

Let us turn back now from this quite independent 
empirical origin of the question of the reality of the outer 
world, to its speculative origin. We^ftnmcl that this con- 
sisted, first, in the false application of the principle of 
sufficient reason to the relation of subject and object ; 
and secondly, in the confusion of its forms, inasmuch 
as the principle of sufficient reason of knowing was 
extended to a province in which the principle of suffi- 
cient reason of being is valid. But the question could 
hardly have occupied philosophers so constantly if it 


were entirely devoid of all real content, and if some true 
thought and meaning did not lie at its heart as its real 
source. Accordingly, we must assume that when the 
element of truth that lies at the bottom of the question 
first came into reflection and sought its expression, it be- 
came involved in these confused and meaningless forms 
and problems. Jhis at least is my opinion, and I think 
that the true expression of that inmost meaning of the 
question, which it failed to find, is this : — What is this 
world of perception besides being my idea ? Is that of 
which I am conscious only as idea, exactly like my own 
body, of which I am doubly conscious, in one aspect as 
idea, in another aspect as will ? The fuller explanation 
of this question and its answer in the affirmative, will 
form the content of the second book, and its consequences 
will occupy the remaining portion of this work. 

§ 6. For the present, however, in this first book we 
consider everything merely as idea, as object for the sub- 
ject. And our own body, which is the starting-point for 
each of us in our perception of the world, we consider, 
like all other real objects, from the side of its knowable- 
ness, and in this regard it is simply an idea. Now the 
consciousness of every one is in general opposed to the 
explanation of objects as mere ideas, and more especially 
to the explanation of our bodies as such ; for the thing in 
itself is known to each of us immediately in so far as it 
appears as our own body ; but in so far as it objectifies 
itself in the other objects of perception, it is known only 
indirectly. But this abstraction, this one-sided treat- 
ment, this forcible separation of what is essentially and 
necessarily united, is only adopted to meet the demands 
of our argument ; and therefore the disinclination to it 
must, in the meantime, be suppressed and silenced by the 
expectation that the subsequent treatment will correct 
the one-sidedness of the present one, and complete our 
knowledge of the nature of the world. 

At present therefore the body is for us immediate 


object; that is to say, that idea which forms the 
starting-point of the subject's knowledge; because the 
body, with its immediately known changes, precedes the 
application of the law of causality, and thus supplies it 
with its lint data. The whole nature of matter consists 
as we have seen, in its causal action. But cause and 
effect exist only for the understanding, which is nothing but 
their subjective correlative. The understanding, however 
could never come into operation if there were not some- 
thing else from which it starts. This is simple sensa- 
tion—the immediate consciousness of the changes of the 
body, by virtue of which it is immediate object. Thus 
the possibility of knowing the world of perception-de- 
pends upon two conditions ; the first, objectively expressed 
is the power of material things to act upon each other to 
produce changes in each other, without which common 
quality of all hodies no perception would be possible 
even by means of the sensibility of the animal body 
And if we wish to express this condition subjectively we 
say : The understanding first makes perception possible; 
lor the law of causality, the possibility of effect and 
cause, springs only from the understanding, and is valid 
only for it, and therefore the world of perception exists 
only through and for it. The second condition is the 
sensibility of animal bodies, oTthe quality of bein" im- 
mediate objects of the subject which certain bodies" pos- 
sess. The mere modification which the organs of sense 
sustain from without through their specific affections 
may here be called ideas, so far as these affections pro- 
duce neither pain nor pleasure, that is, have no imme- 
diate significance for the will, and are yet perceived, exist 
therefore only for knowledge. Thus far, then, I say that 
the body is immediately known, is immediate object. But 
the conception of object is not to be taken here in its 
fullest sense, for through this immediate knowledge of 
the body, which precedes the operation of the understand- 
ing, and is mere sensation, our own body does not exist 


specifically as object, but first the material things which 
affect it : for all knowledge of an object proper, of an idea 
perceived in space, exists only through and for the under- 
standing ; therefore not before, but only subsequently to 
its operation. Therefore the body as object proper, that 
is, as an idea perceived in space, is first known indirectly, 
like all other objects, through the application of the 
law of causality to the action of one of its parts upon 
another, as, for example, when the eye sees the body or 
the hand touches it. Consequently the form of our 
body does not become known to us through mere feel- 
ing, but only through knowledge, only in idea ; that is to 
say, only in the brain does our own body first come to 
appear as extended, articulate, organic. A man born 
blind receives this idea only little by little from the data 
afforded by touch. A blind man without hands could 
never come to know his own form ; or at the most could 
infer and construct it little by little from the effects of 
other bodies upon him. If, then, we call the body an 
immediate object, we are to be understood with these 

In other respects, then, according to what has been 
said, all animal bodies are immediate objects ; that is, 
starting-points for the subject which always knows 
and therefore is never known in its perception of the 
world. Thus the distinctive characteristic of animal 
life is knowledge, with movement following on motives, 
which are determined by knowledge, just as movement 
following on stimuli is the distinctive characteristic of 
plant-life. Unorganised matter, however, has no move- 
ment except such as is produced by causes properly so 
called, using the term in its narrowest sense. All this I 
have thoroughly discussed in my essay on the principle 
of sufficient reason, § 20, in the "Ethics," first essay, iii., 
and in my work on Sight and Colour, § 1, to which I 
therefore refer. 

It follows from what has been said, that all animals. 



even the least developed, have understanding; for they 
all know objects, and this knowledge determines their 
movements as motive. . Under standing is the same in all 
animals and in all men; it has everywhere the same 
simple form; knowledge of causality, transition from 
effect to cause, and from cause to effect, nothing more ; 
but the degree of its acuteness, and the extension of the 
sphere of its knowledge varies enormously, with in- 
numerable gradations from the lowest form, which is 
only conscious of the causal connection between the im- 
mediate object and objects affecting it — that is to say, 
perceives a cause as an object in space by passing to 
it from the affection which the body feels, to the higher 
grades of knowledge of the causal connection among 
objects known indirectly, which extends to the under- 
standing of the most complicated system of cause and 
effect in nature. For even this high degree of knowledge 
is still the work of the understanding, not of the reason. 
The abstract concepts of the reason can only serve to 
take up the objective connections which are immediately 
known by the understanding, to make them permanent 
for thought, and to relate them to each other; but 
reason never gives us immediate knowledge. Every 
force and law of nature, every example of such forces 
and laws, must first be immediately known by the under- 
standing, must be apprehended through perception before 
it can pass into abstract consciousness for reason. Hooke's 
discovery of the law of gravitation, and the reference of 
so many important phenomena to this one law, was the 
work of immediate apprehension by the understanding; 
and such also was the proof of Newton's calculations, and 
Lavoisier's discovery of acids and their important function 
in nature, and also Goethe's discovery of the origin of 
physical colours. All these discoveries are nothing more 
than a correct immediate passage from the effect to the 
cause, which is at once followed by the recognition of the 
ideality of the force of nature which expresses itself in all 


causes of the same kind; and this complete insight is 
just an example of that single function of the understand- 
ing, by which an animal perceives as an object in space 
the cause which affects its body, and differs from such a 
perception only in degree. Every one of these great 
discoveries is therefore, just like perception, an operation 
of the understanding, an immediate intuition, and as such 
the work of an instant, an appergu, a flash of insight. 
They are not the result of a process of abstract reasoning, 
wElch only serves to make the immediate knowledge of 
the understanding permanent for thought by bringing it 
under abstract concepts, i.e., it makes knowledge distinct, 
it puts us in a position to impart it and explain it to 
others. The keenness of the understanding in appre- 
hending the causal relations of objects which are known 
indirectly, does not find its only application in the sphere 
of natural science (though all the discoveries in that 
sphere are due to it), but it also appears in practical life. 
It is then called good sense or prudence, as in its other 
application it is better called acuteness, penetration, 
sagacity. More exactly, good sense or prudence signifies 
exclusively understanding at the command of the will. 
But the limits of these conceptions must not be too 
sharply defined, for it is always that one function of the 
understanding by means of which all animals perceive 
objects in space, which, in its keenest form, appears now 
in the phenomena of nature, correctly inferring the un- 
known causes from the given effects, and providing the 
material from which the reason frames general rules as 
laws of nature ; now inventing complicated and ingenious 
machines by adapting known causes to desired effects ; 
now in the sphere of motives, seeing through and frus- 
trating intrigues and machinations, or fitly disposing the 
motives and the men who are susceptible to them, setting 
them in motion, as machines are moved by levers and 
wheels, and directing them at will to the accomplish- 
ment of its ends. Deficiency of understanding is called 


stupidity. ^ It is just dulncss in applying the law of 
causality, incapacity for the immediate apprehension of 
the concatenations of causes and effects, motives and 
actions. A stupid person lias no insight into the con- 
nection of natural phenomena, either when they follow 
their own course, or when they are intentionally com- 
bined, i.e., are applied to machinery. Such a man readily 
believes in magic and miracles. A stupid man does not 
observe that persons, who apparently act independently 
of each other, are really in collusion; he is therefore 
easily mystified, and outwitted ; he does not discern the 
hidden motives of proffered advice or expressions of 
opinion, &c. But it is always just one thing that he 
lacks— keenness, rapidity, ease in applying the law of 
causality, i.e., power of understanding. The greatest, 
and, in this reference, the most instructive example of 
stupidity I ever met with, was the case of a totally 
imbecile boy of about eleven years of age, in an asylum. 
He had reason, because he spoke and comprehended, but 
in respect of understanding he was inferior to many of 
the lower animals. Whenever I visited him he noticed 
an eye-glass which I wore round my neck, and in which 
the window of the room and the tops of the trees beyond 
were reflected : on every occasion he was greatly surprised 
and delighted with this, and was never tired of looking 
at it with astonishment, because he did not understand 
the immediate causation of reflection. 

While the difference in degree of the acuteness of the 
understanding, is very great between man and man, it is 
even greater between one species of animal and another. 
In all species of animals, even those which are nearest 
to plants, there is at least as much understanding as 
suffices for the inference from the effect on the immediate 
object, to the indirectly known object as its cause, i.c t 
sufficient for perception, for the apprehension of an object 
For it is this that constitutes them animals, as it gives 
them the power of movement following on motives, and 


thereby the power of seeking for food, or at least of seiz- 
ing it ; whereas plants have only movement following on 
stimuli, whose direct influence they must await, or else 
decay, for they cannot seek after them nor appropriate 
them. We marvel at the great sagacity of the most 
developed species of animals, such as the dog, the 
elephant, the monkey or the fox, whose cleverness has 
been so admirably sketched by Buffon. From these 
most sagacious animals, we can pretty accurately deter- 
mine how far understanding can go without reason, i.e., 
abstract knowledge embodied in concepts. We could not 
find this out from ourselves, for in us understanding and 
reason always reciprocally support each other. We find 
that the manifestation of understanding in animals is 
sometimes above our expectation, and sometimes below 
it. On the one hand, we are surprised at the sagacity of 
the elephant, who, after crossing many bridges during his 
journey in Europe, once refused to go upon one, because 
he thought it was not strong enough to bear his weight, 
though he saw the rest of the party, consisting of men 
and horses, go upon it as usual. On the other hand, we 
wonder that the intelligent Orang-outangs, who warm 
themselves at a fire they have found, do not keep it 
alight by throwing wood on it ; a proof that this requires 
a deliberation which is not possible without abstract con- 
cepts. It is clear that the knowledge of cause and effect, 
as the universal form of understanding, belongs to all 
animals a priori, because to them as to us it is the prior 
condition of all perception of the outer world. If any 
one desires additional proof of this, let him observe, for 
example, how a young dog is afraid to jump down from 
a table, however much he may wish to do so, because he 
foresees the effect of the weight of his body, though he 
has not been taught this by experience. In judging of 
the understanding of animals, we must guard against 
ascribing to it the manifestations of instinct, a faculty 
which is quite distinct both from understanding and 


reason, but the action of which is often very analogous 
to the combined action of the two. We cannot, how- 
ever, discuss this here; it will find its proper place in 

v^ - the second book, when we consider the harmony or so- 
called teleology of nature : and the 27th chapter of the 

\ / supplementary volume is expressly devoted to it. 

Deficiency of understanding we call stupidity: deficiency 
in the application of reason to practice we shall recog- 
nise later as foolishness : deficiency of judgment as silli- 
ness, and lastly, partial or entire deficiency of memory 
as madness. But each of these will be considered in 
its own place. That which is correctly known by reason 
is truth, that is, an abstract judgment on sufficient 
grounds (Essay on the Principle of Sufficient Reason, 
§ 29 and following paragraphs) ; that which is correctly 
known by understanding is reality, that is correct infer- 
ence from effect on the immediate object to its cause. 
Error is opposed to truth, as deception of the reason: 
illusion is opposed to reality, as deception of the under- 
standing. The full discussion of all this will be found 
in the first chapter of my essay on Light and Colour. 
Illusion takes place when the same effect may be attri- 
buted to two causes, of which one occurs very frequently, 
the other very seldom; the understanding having no 
data to decide which of these two causes operates in any 
particular case, — for their effects are exactly alike, — always 
assumes the presence of the commoner cause, and as the 
activity of the understanding is not reflective and dis- 
cursive, but direct and immediate, this false cause appears 
before us as a perceived object, whereas it is merely 
illusion. I have explained in the essay referred to, how 
in this way double sight and double feeling take place if 
the organs of sense are brought into an unusual position ; 
and have thus given an incontrovertible proof that per- 
ception exists only through and for the understanding. 
As additional examples of such illusions or deceptions of 
the understanding, we may mention the broken appear- 


ance of a stick dipped in water; the reflections in spherical 
mirrors, which, when the surface is convex appear some- 
what behind it, and when the surface is concave appear 
a long way in front of it. To this class also belongs the 
apparently greater extension of the moon at the horizon 
than at the zenith. This appearance is not optical, for 
as the micrometre proves, the eye receives the image of 
the moon at the zenith, at an even greater angle of vision 
than at the horizon. The mistake is due to the under- 
standing, which assumes that the cause of the feebler light 
of the moon and of all stars at the horizon is that they 
are further off, thus treating them as earthly objects, 
according to the laws of atmospheric perspective, and 
therefore it takes the moon to be much larger at the 
horizon than at the zenith, and also regards the vault of 
heaven as more extended or flattened out at the horizon. 
The same false application of the laws of atmospheric 
perspective leads us to suppose that very high mountains, 
whose summits alone are visible in pure transparent air, 
are much nearer than they really are, and therefore not 
so high as they are ; for example, Mont Blanc seen from 
Salenche. All such illusions are immediately present to 
us as perceptions, and cannot be dispelled by any argu- 
ments of the reason. Keason can only prevent error, 
that is, a judgment on insufficient grounds, by opposing 
to it a truth; as for example, the abstract knowledge 
that the cause of the weaker light of the moon and the 
stars at the horizon is not greater distance, but the denser 
atmosphere ; but in all the cases we have referred to, the 
illusion remains in spite of every abstract explanation. 
For the understanding is in itself, even in the case of 
man7 irrational, and is completely and sharply dis- 
tinguished from the reason, which is a faculty of know- 
ledge that belongs to man alone. The reason can only 
know; perception remains free from its influence and 
belongs to the understanding alone. 

5 7. With reference to our exposition up to this point, 


it must be observed that we did not start either from 
the object or the subject, but from the idea, which con- 
tains and presupposes them both ; for the antithesis of 
object and subject is its primary, universal and essential 
form. We have therefore first considered this form as 
such ; then (though in this respect reference has for the 
most part been made to the introductory essay) the sub- 
ordinate forms of time, space and causality. The latter 
belong exclusively to the object, and yet, as they are 
essential to the object as such, and as the object again 
is essential to the subject as such, they may be dis- 
covered from the subject, i.e., they may be known a priori, 
and so far they are to be regarded as the common limits 
of both. But all these forms may be referred to one 
general expression, the principle of sufficient reason, as 
we have explained in the introductory essay. 

This procedure distinguishes our philosophical method 
from that of all former systems. For they all start either 
from the object or from the subject, and therefore seek to 
explain the one from the other, and this according to 
the principle of sufficient reason. We^on the contrary, 
deny the validity of this principle with reference to the 
relation of subject and object, and confine it to the object. 
It may be thought that the philosophy of identity, which 
has appeared and become generally known in our own 
day, does not come under either of the alternatives we 
have named, for it does not start either from the subject 
or from the object, but from the absolute, known through 
" intellectual intuition," which is neither object nor subject, 
but the identity of the two. I will not venture to speak 
of this revered identity, and this absolute, for I find my- 
self entirely devoid of all " intellectual intuition." But 
as I take my stand merely on those manifestoes of tho 
" intellectual intuiter " which are open to all, even to pro- 
fane persons like myself, I must yet observe that this 
philosophy is not to be excepted from the alternative 
errors mentioned above. For it does rot escape these 


two opposite errors in spite of its identity of subject and 
object, which is not thinkable, but only " intellectually 
intuitable," or to be experienced by a losing of oneself in 
it. On the contrary, it combines them both in itself; 
for it is divided into two parts, firstly, transcendental 
idealism, which is just Fichte's doctrine of the ego, and 
therefore teaches that the object is produced by the sub- 
ject, or evolved out of it in accordance with the principle 
of sufficient reason ; secondly, the philosophy of nature, 
which teaches that the subject is produced little by little 
from the object, by means of a method called construc- 
tion, about which I understand very little, yet enough to 
know that it is a process according to various forms of 
the principle of sufficient reason. The deep wisdom itself 
which that construction contains, I renounce; for as I 
entirely lack " intellectual intuition," all those expositions 
which presuppose it must for me remain as a book sealed 
with seven seals. This is so truly the case that, strange 
to say, I have always been unable to find anything at all 
in this doctrine of profound wisdom but atrocious and 
wearisome bombast. 

The systems starting from the object had always the 
whole world of perception and its constitution as 
their problem ; yet the object which they take as their 
starting-point is not always this whole world of percep- 
tion, nor its fundamental element, matter. On the 
contrary, a division of these systems may be made, based 
on the four classes of possible objects set forth in the 
introductory essay. Thus Thales and the Ionic school, 
Democritus, Epicurus, Giordano Bruno, and the .French 
materialists, may be said to have started from the first 
class of objects, the real world: Spinoza (on account of 
his conception of substance, which is purely abstract, and 
exists only in his definition) and, earlier, the Eleatics, from 
the second class, the abstract conception: the Pytha- 
goreans and Chinese philosophy in Y-King, from the 
third class, time, and consequently number: and, lastly, 

vol. I. c 


the schoolmen, who teach a creation out of nothing by 
the act of will of an extra-mundane personal being, 
started from the fourth class of objects, the act of will 
directed by knowledge. 

Of all systems of philosophy which start from the 
object, the most consistent, and that which may be carried 
furthest, is simple materialism. It regards matter, and 
t with it time and space, as existing absolutely, and ignores 
the relation to the subject in which alone all this really 
exists. It then lays hold of the law of causality as a 
guiding principle or clue, regarding it as a self-existent 
order (or arrangement) of things, Veritas aeterna, and so 
fails to take account of the understanding, in which and 
for which alone causality is. It seeks the primary and 
most simple state of matter, and then tries to develop all 
the others from it ; ascending from mere mechanism, to 
chemism, to polarity, to the vegetable and to the animal 
kingdom. And if we suppose this to have been done, 
the last link in the chain would be animal sensibility — 
that is knowledge — which would consequently now 
appear as a mere modification or state of matter produced 
by causality. Now if we had followed materialism thus 
far with clear ideas, when we reached its highest point 
we would suddenly be seized with a fit of the inex- 
tinguishable laughter of the Olympians. As if waking 
from a dream, we would all at once become aware that 
its final result — knowledge, which it reached so labori- 
ously, was presupposed as the indispensable condition of 
its very starting-point, mere matter; and when we 
imagined that we thought matter, we really thought only 
the subject that perceives matter ; the eye that sees it, 
the hand that feels it, the understanding that knows it 
Thus the tremendous petitio principii reveals itself unex- 
pectedly; for suddenly the last link is seen to be the 
starting-point, the chain a circle, and the materialist is 
like Baron Munchausen who, when swimming in water 
on horseback, drew the horse into the air with his legs, 


and himself also by his cue. The fundamental absurdity 
of materialism is that it starts from the objective, and 
takes as the ultimate ground of explanation something 
objective, whether it be matter in the abstract, simply as 
it is thought, or after it has taken form, is empirically 
given — that is to say, is substance, the chemical element 
with its primary relations. Some such thing it takes, 
as existing absolutely and in itself, in order that it may 
evolve organic nature and finally the knowing subject 
from it, and explain them adequately by means of it ; 
whereas in truth all that is objective is already deter- 
mined as such in manifold ways by the knowing subject 
through its forms of knowing, and presupposes them; and 
consequently it entirely disappears if we think the subject 
away. Thus materialism is the attempt to explain what 
is immediately given us by what is given us indirectly, f 
All that is objective, extended, active— that is to say, all 
that is material — is regarded by materialism as affording 
so solid a basis for its explanation, that a reduction of 
everything to this can leave nothing to be desired 
(especially if in ultimate analysis this reduction should 
resolve itself into action and reaction). But we have 
shown that all this is given indirectly and in the highest 
degree determined, and is therefore merely a relatively 
present object, for it has passed through the machinery 
and manufactory of the brain, and has thus come under 
the forms of space, time and causality, by means of which 
it is first presented to us as extended in space and ever 
active in time. From such an indirectly given object, 
materialism seeks to explain what is immediately given, 
the idea (in which alone the object that materialism 
starts with exists), and finally even the will from which all 
those fundamental forces, that manifest themselves, under 
the guidance of causes, and therefore according to law, 
are in truth to be explained. To the assertion that 
thought is a modification of matter we may always, 
with equal right, oppose the contrary assertion that all 


matter is merely the modification of the knowing subject, 
as its idea. Yet the aim and ideal of all natural science 
is at bottom a consistent materialism. The recognition 
here of the obvious impossibility of such a system 
establishes another truth which will appear in the course 
of our exposition, the truth that all science properly so 
called, by which I understand systematic knowledge 
under the guidance of the principle of sufficient reason, 
can never reach its final goal, nor give a complete and 
adequate explanation : for it is not concerned with the 
inmost nature of the world, it cannot get beyond the idea ; 
indeed, it really teaches nothing more than the relation 
of one idea to another. 

Every science must start from two principal data. 
One of these is always the principle of sufficient reason 
in some form or another, as organon ; the other is its 
special object as problem. Thus, for example, geometry 
has space as problem, and the ground of existence in 
space as organon. Arithmetic has time as problem, and 
the ground of existence in time as organon. Logic has 
the combination of concepts as such as problem, and the 
ground of knowledge as organon. History has the past 
acts of men treated as a whole as problem, and the law 
of human motives as organon. Natural science has 
matter as problem, and the law of causality as organon. 
Its end and aim is therefore, by the guidance of causality, 
to refer all possible states of matter to other states, and 
ultimately to one single state ; and again to deduce these 
states from each other, and ultimately from one single 
state. Thus two states of matter stand over against each 
other in natural science as extremes : that state in which 
matter is furthest from being the immediate object of the 
subject, and that state in which it is most completely 
such an immediate object, i.e., the most dead and crude 
matter, the primary element, as the one extreme, and the 
human organism as the other. Natural science as 
chemistry seeks for the first, as physiology for the second. 


But as yet neither extreme has been reached, and it is 
only in the intermediate ground that something has been 
won. The prospect is indeed somewhat hopeless. The 
chemists, under the presupposition that the qualitative 
division of matter is not, like quantitative division, an 
endless process, are always trying to decrease the num- 
ber of the elements, of which there are still about 
sixty ; and if they were to succeed in reducing them to 
two, they would still try to find the common root of 
these. For, on the one hand, the law of homogeneity 
leads to the assumption of a primary chemical state of 
matter, which alone belongs to matter as such, and pre- 
cedes all others which are not essentially matter as such, 
but merely contingent forms and qualities. On the other 
hand, we cannot understand how this one state could 
ever experience a chemical change, if there did not exist 
a second state to affect it. Thus the same difficulty 
appears in chemistry which Epicurus met with in 
mechanics. For he had to show how the first atom de- 
parted from the original direction of its motion. Indeed 
this contradiction, which develops entirely of itself and 
can neither be escaped nor solved, might quite property 
be set up as a chemical antinomy. Thus an antinomy 
appears in the one extreme of natural science, and a 
corresponding one will appear in the other. There is just 
as little hope of reaching this opposite extreme of natural 
science, for we see ever more clearly that what is chemi- 
cal can never be referred to what is mechanical, nor what 
is organic to what is chemical or electrical. Those who 
in our own day are entering anew on this old, misleading 
path, will soon slink back silent and ashamed, as all their 
predecessors have done before them. "We shall consider 
this more fully in the second book. Natural science en- 
counters the difficulties which we have cursorily men- 
tioned, in its own province. Eegarded as philosophy, it 
would further be materialism ; but this, as we have seen, 
even at its birth, has death in its heart, because it ignores 


the subject and the forms of knowledge, which are 
presupposed, just as much in the case of the crudest 
matter, from which it desires to start, as in that of the 
organism, at which it desires to arrive. For, " no object 
without a subject," is the principle which renders all 
materialism for ever impossible. Suns and planets 
without an eye that sees them, and an understanding 
that knows them, may indeed be spoken of in words, but 
for the idea, these words are absolutely meaningless. On 
the other hand, the law of causality and the treatment 
and investigation of nature which is based upon it, lead us 
necessarily to the conclusion that, in time, each more highly 
organised state of matter has succeeded a cruder state : so 
that the lower animals existed before men, fishes before 
land animals, plants before fishes, and the unorganised 
before all that is organised ; that, consequently, the ori- 
ginal mass had to pass through a long series of changes 
before the first eye could be opened. And yet, the ex- 
istence of this whole world remains ever dependent upon 
the first eye that opened, even if it were that of an in- 
sect. For such an eye is a necessary condition of the 
possibility of knowledge, and the whole world exists only 
in and for knowledge, and without it is not even think- 
able. The world is entirely idea, and as such demands 
the knowing subject as the supporter of its existence. 
This long course of time itself, filled with innumerable 
changes, through which matter rose from form to form 
till at last the first percipient creature appeared, — this 
whole time itself is only thinkable in the identity of a 
consciousness whose succession of ideas, whose form of 
knowing it is, and apart from which, it loses all meaning 
and is nothing at alL Thus we see, on the one hand, the 
existence of the whole world necessarily dependent upon 
the first conscious being, however undeveloped it may be ; 
on the other hand, this conscious being just as neces- 
sarily entirely dependent upon a long chain of causes and 
effects which have preceded it, and in which it itself 


appears as a small link. These two contradictory points 
of view, to each of which we are led with the same neces- 
sity, we might again call an antimmy in our faculty of 
knowledge, and set it up as the counterpart of that which 
we found in the first extreme of natural science. The 
fourfold antinomy of Kant will be shown, in the criti- 
cism of his philosophy appended to this volume, to be a 
groundless delusion. But the necessary contradiction 
which at last presents itself to us here, finds its solution 
in the fact that, to use Kant's phraseology, time, space, 
and causality do not belong to the thing-in-itself, but 
only to its phenomena, of which they are the form ; which 
in my language means this : The objective world, the 
world as idea, is not the only side of the world, but merely 
its outward side ; and it has an entirely different side — 
the side of its inmost nature — its kernel — the thing- 
in-itself. This we shall consider in the second book, 
calling it after the most immediate of its objective mani- 
festations — will. But the world as idea, with which 
alone we are here concerned, only appears with the open- 
ing of the first eye. Without this medium of knowledge 
it cannot be, and ' therefore it was not before it. But 
without that eye, that is to say, outside of knowledge, 
there was also no before, no time. Thus time has no be- 
ginning, but all beginning is in time. Since, however, it is 
the most universal form of the knowable, in which all 
phenomena are united together through causality, time, 
with its infinity of past and future, is present in the be- 
ginning of knowledge. The phenomenon which fills the 
first present must at once be known as causally bound 
up with and dependent upon a sequence of phenomena 
which stretches infinitely into the past, and this past it- 
self is just as truly conditioned by this first present, as 
conversely the present is by the past. Accordingly the 
past out of which the first present arises, is, like it, de- 
pendent upon the knowing subject, without which it is 
nothing. It necessarily happens, however, that this first 


present does not manifest itself as the first, that is, as 
having no past for its parent, but as being the beginning 
of time. It manifests itself rather as the consequence of 
the past, according to the principle of existence in time. 
In the same way, the phenomena which fill this first present 
appear as the effects of earlier phenomena which filled 
the past, in accordance with the law of causality. Those 
who like mythological interpretations may take the birth 
of Kronos (xpovo<;), the youngest of the Titans, as a sym- 
bol of the moment here referred to at which time appears, 
though, indeed it has no beginning ; for with him, since 
he ate his father, the crude productions of heaven and 
earth cease, aud the races of gods and men appear upon 
the scene. 

This explanation at which we have arrived by follow- 
ing the most consistent of the philosophical systems 
which start from the object, materialism, has brought out 
clearly the inseparable and reciprocal dependence of sub- 
ject and object, and at the same time the inevitable 
antithesis between them. And this knowledge leads us 
to seek for the inner nature of the world, the thing-in- 
itself, not in either of the two elements of the idea, but 
in something quite distinct from it, and which is not 
encumbered with such a fundamental and insoluble 

Opposed to the system we have explained, which starts 
from the object in order to derive the subject from it, is 
the system which starts from the subject and tries to 
derive the object from it. The first of these has been of 
frequent and common occurrence throughout the history 
of philosophy, but of the second we find only one ex- 
ample, and that a very recent one ; the " philosophy of 
appearance " of J. G. Fichte. In this respect, therefore, 
it must be considered ; little real worth or inner meaning 
as the doctrine itself had. It was indeed fur the most 
part merely a delusion, but it was delivered with an air* 
of the deepest earnestness, with sustained loftiness of 


tone and zealous ardour, and was defended with eloquent 
polemic against weak opponents, so that it was able to 
present a brilliant exterior and seemed to be something. 
But the genuine earnestness which keeps truth always 
steadfastly before it as its goal, and is unaffected by any 
external influences, was entirely wanting to Fichte, as it 
is to all philosophers who, like him, concern themselves 
with questions of the day. In his case, indeed, it could 
not have been otherwise. A man becomes a philosopher 
by reason of a certain perplexity, from which he seeks 
to free himself. This is Plato's dav/iagecv, which he 
calls a fjiaXa $i\ooo$ucov ttg&o?. But what distinguishes 
the false philosopher from the true is this : the perplexity 
of the latter arises from the contemplation of the world 
itself, while that of the former results from some book, 
some system of philosophy which is before him. Now 
Fichte belongs to the class of the false philosophers. 
He was made a philosopher by Kant's doctrine of the 
thing-in-itself, and if it had not been for this he would 
probably have pursued entirely different ends, with far 
better results, for he certainly possessed remarkable 
rhetorical talent. If he had only penetrated somewhat 
deeply into the meaning of the book that made him a 
philosopher, "The Critique of Pure Reason," he would 
have understood that its principal teaching about mind 
is this. The principle of sufficient reason is not, as all 
scholastic philosophy maintains, a Veritas aeterna — that is 
to say, it does not possess an unconditioned validity before, 
outside of, and above the world. It is relative and con- 
ditioned, and valid only in the sphere of phenomena, and 
thus it may appear as the necessary nexus of space and 
time, or as the law of causality, or as the law of the 
ground of knowledge. The inner nature of the world, 
the thing-in-itself can never be found by the guidance of 
this principle, for all that it leads to will be found to be 
dependent and relative and merely phenomenal, not the 
thing-in-itself. Further, it does not concern the subject, 


but is only the form of objects, which are therefore not 
things-in-themselves. The subject must exist along with 
the object, and the object along with the subject, so that 
it is impossible that subject and object can stand to each 
other in a relation of reason and consequent. But Fichte 
did not take up the smallest fragment of all this. All 
that interested him about the matter was that the system 
started from the subject Now Kant had chosen this 
procedure in order to show the fallacy of the prevalent 
systems, which started from the object, and through 
which the object had come to be regarded as a thing-in- 
itself. Fichte, however, took this departure from the 
subject for the really important matter, and like all imita- 
tors, he imagined that in going further than Kant he was 
surpassing him. Thus he repeated the fallacy with 
regard to the subject, which all the previous dogmatism 
had perpetrated with regard to the object, and which 
had been the occasion of Kant's " Critique." Fichte 
then made no material change, and the fundamental 
fallacy, the assumption of a relation of reason and con- 
sequent between object and subject, remained after him 
as it was before him. The principle of sufficient reason 
possessed as before an unconditioned validity, and the 
only difference was that the thing-in-itself was now 
placed in the subject instead of, as formerly, in the 
object. The entire relativity of both subject and object, 
which proves that the thing-in-itself, or the inner nature 
of the world, is not to be sought in them at all, but 
outside of them, and outside everything else that exists 
merely relatively, still remained unknown. Just as if 
Kant had never existed, the principle of sufficient reason 
is to Fichte precisely what it was to all the schoolmen, a 
Veritas aeterna. As an eternal fate reigned over the gods 
of old, so these aeternce veritates, these metaphysical, 
mathematical and metalogical truths, and in the case of 
some, the validity of the moral law also, reigned over the 
God of the schoolmen. These veritatcs alone were inde- 


pendent of everything, and through their necessity both 
God and the world existed. According to the principle 
of sufficient reason, as such a Veritas aeterna, the ego is 
for Fichte the ground of the world, or of the non-ego, the 
object, which is just its consequent, its creation. He 
has therefore taken good care to avoid examining further 
or limiting the principle of sufficient reason. If, how- 
ever, it is thought I should specify the form of the 
principle of sufficient reason under the guidance of which 
Fichte derives the non-ego from the ego, as a spider spins its 
web out of itself, I find that it is the principle of sufficient 
reason of existence in space : for it is only as referred to 
this that some kind of meaning and sense can be attached 
to the laboured deductions of the way in which the ego 
produces and fabricates the non-ego from itself, which form 
the content of the most senseless, and consequently the 
most wearisome book that was ever written. ^ This 
philosophy of Fichte, otherwise not worth mentioning, is 
interesting to us only as the tardy expression of the con- 
verse of the old materialism. For materialism was the 
most consistent system starting from the object, as this 
is the most consistent system starting from the subject. 
Materialism overlooked the fact that, with the simplest 
object, it assumed the subject also; and Fichte over- 
looked the fact that with the subject (whatever he may 
call it) he assumed the object also, for no subject is 
thinkable without an object. Besides this he forgot 
that all a priori deduction, indeed all demonstration in 
general, must rest upon some necessity, and that all 
necessity is based on the principle of sufficient reason, 
because to be necessary, and to follow from given grounds 
are convertible conceptions. 1 But the principle of suffi- 
cient reason is just the universal form of the object 
as such. Thus it is in the object, but is not valid before 

i On this see " The Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason," 


and outside of it ; it first produces the object and makea 
it appear in conformity with its regulative principle. 
We see then that the system which starts from the sub- 
ject contains the same fallacy as the system, explained 
above, which starts from the object ; it begins by assum- 
ing what it proposes to deduce, the necessary correlative 
of its starting-point. 

The method of our own system is toto genere distinct 
from these two opposite misconceptions, for we start 
neither from the object nor from the subject, but from 
the idea, as the first fact of consciousness. Its first 
essential, fundamental form is the antithesis of subject 
and object. The form of the object again is the prin- 
ciple of sufficient reason in its various forms. Each of 
these reigns so absolutely in its own class of ideas that, 
as we have seen, when the special form of the principle 
of sufficient reason which governs any class of ideas is 
known, the nature of the whole class is known also : for 
the whole class, as idea, is no more than this form of the 
principle of sufficient reason itself; so that time itself is 
nothing but the principle of existence in it, ie. t succession; 
space is nothing but the principle of existence in it, i.c. t 
position; matter is nothing but causality; the concept 
(as will appear immediately) is nothing but relation to a 
ground of knowledge. This thorough and consistent 
relativity of the world aT13ea, both according to its 
universal form (subject and object), and according to the 
form which is subordinate to this (the principle of suffi- 
cient reason) warns us, as we said before, to seek the 
inncir nature of the world in an aspect of it which is 
quite different and quite distinct from the idea; and in 
the next book we shall find this in a fact which is just 
as immediate to every living being as the idea, 

• But we must first consider that class of ideas which 
belongs to man alone. The matter of these is the con- 
cept, and the subjective correlative is reason, just as the 
subjective correlative of the ideas we have already con- 


sidered was understanding and sensibility, which are also 

rbe attributed to all the lower animals. 1 
§ 8. As from the direct light of the sun to the borrowed 
light of the moon, we pass from the immediate idea of 
perception, which stands by itself and is its own warrant, 
to reflection, to the abstract, discursive concepts of the 
reason, which obtain their whole content from know- 
ledge of perception, and in relation to it. As long as 
we continue simply to perceive, all is clear, firm, and 
certain. There are neither questions nor doubts nor 
errors; we desire to go no further, can go no further; 
we find rest in perceiving, and satisfaction in the present. 
Perception suffices for itself, and therefore what springs 
purely from it, and remains true to it, for example, a 
genuine work of art, can never be false, nor can it be 
discredited through the lapse of time, for it does not 
present an opinion but the thing itself. But with 
abstract knowledge, with reason, doubt and error appear 
in the theoretical, care and sorrow in the practical. In 
the idea of perception, illusion may at moments take the 
j place of the real ; but in the sphere of abstract thought, 
error may reign for a thousand years, impose its yoke 
/ upon whole nations, extend to the noblest impulses of 
^ humanity, and, by the help of its slaves and its dupes, 
may chain and fetter those whom it cannot deceive. It 
is the enemy against which the wisest men of all times 
have waged unequal war, and only what they have won 
from it has become the possession of mankind. There- 
fore it is well to draw attention to it at once, as we 
already tread the ground to which its province belongs. 
It has often been said that we ought to follow truth even 
although no utility can be seen in it, because it may have 
indirect utility which may appear when it is least ex- 
pected; and I would add to this, that we ought to be 
just as anxious to discover and to root out all error even 

1 The first four chapters of the first of the supplementary books belong 
to these seven paragraphs. 


when no harm is anticipated from it, because its mischief- 
may be very indirect, and may suddenly appear when 
we do not expect it, for all error has poison at its heart. 
If it is mind, if it is knowledge, that makes man the lord 
of creation, there can be no such thing as harmless error, 
still less venerable and holy error. And for the consola- 
tion of those who in any way and at any time may have 
devoted strength and life to the noble and hard battle 
against error, I cannot refrain from adding that, so long 
as truth is absent, error will have free play, as owls and 
bats in the night; but sooner would we expect to see 
the owls and the bats drive back the sun in the eastern 
heavens, than that any truth whicli has once been known 
and distinctly and fully expressed, can ever again be so 
utterly vanquished and overcome that the old error shall 
once more reign undisturbed over its wide kingdom. This 
is the power of truth ; its conquest is slow and laborious, 
but if once the victory be gained it can never be wrested 
back again. 

Besides the ideas we have as yet considered, which, 
according to their construction, could be referred to time, 
space, and matter, if we consider them with reference to 
the object, or to pure sensibility and understanding (i.e., 
knowledge of causality), if we consider them with 
reference to the subject, another faculty of knowledge 
has appeared in man alone of all earthly creatures, an 
entirely new consciousness, which, with very appropriate 
and significant exactness, is called reflection. For it is in 
fact derived from the knowledge of perception, and is a 
reflected appearance of it. But it has assumed a nature 
fundamentally different. The forms of perception do not 
affect it, and even the principle of sufficient reason which 
reigns over all objects has an entirely different aspect with 
regard to it It is just this new, more highly endowed, 
consciousness, this abstract reflex of all that belongs to 
perception in that conception of the reason which has 
nothing to do with perception, that gives to man that 


thoughtfulness which distinguishes his consciousness so 
entirely from that of the lower animals, and through 
which his whole behaviour upon earth is so different from 
that of his irrational fellow-creatures. He far surpasses 
them in power and also in suffering. They live in the \[ 
present alone, he lives also in the future and the past.. \ 
They satisfy the needs of the moment, he provides by the 
most ingenious preparations for the future, yea for days 
that he shall never see. They are entirely dependent on the 
impression of the moment, on the effect of the perceptible 
motive ; he is determined by abstract conceptions inde- 
pendent of the present. Therefore he follows predeter- 
mined plans, he acts from maxims, without reference to 
his surroundings or the accidental impression of the 
moment. Thus, for example, he can make with com- 
posure deliberate preparations for his own death, he can 
dissemble past finding out, and can carry his secret with 
him to the grave ; lastly, he has an actual choice between i 
several motives; for only in the abstract can such 
motives, present together in consciousness, afford the 
knowledge with regard to themselves, that the one ex- 
cludes the other, and can thus measure themselves 
against each other with reference to their power over the 
will The motive that overcomes, in that it decides the 
question at issue, is the deliberate determinant of the 
will, and is a sure indication of its character. The brute, 
on the other hand, is determined by the present im- 
pression ; only the fear of present compulsion can 
constrain its desires, until at last this fear has become 
custom, and as such continues to determine it ; this is 
called training. The brute feels and perceives ; man, in 
addition to this, thinks and knows : both will. The brute 
expresses its feelings and dispositions by gestures and 
sounds ; man communicates his thought to others, or, if 
he wishes, he conceals it, by means of speech. Speech 
is the first production, and also the necessary organ of 
his reason. Therefore in Greek and Italian, speech and 


reason are expressed by the same word ; 6 \oyos, il 
discorso. Vcmunft is derived from vemchmen, which 
is not a synonym for the verb to hear, but signi- 
fies the consciousness of the meaning of thoughts com- 
municated in words. It is by the help of language alone 
that reason accomplishes its most important achieve- 
ments, — the united action of several individuals, the 
planned co-operation of many thousands, civilisation, the 
state; also science, the storing up of experience, the 
uniting of common properties in one concept, the com- 
munication of truth, the spread of error, thoughts and 
poems, dogmas and superstitions. The brute first knows 
death when it dies, but man draws consciously nearer to 
it every hour that he lives ; and this makes life at times 
a questionable good even to him who has not recognised 
this character of constant annihilation in the whole of 
life. Principally on this account man has philosophies 
and religions, though it is uncertain whether the qualities 
we admire most in his conduct, voluntary rectitude and 
nobility of feeling, were ever the fruit of either of them. 
As results which certainly belong only to them, and as 
productions of reason in this sphere, we may refer to 
the marvellous and monstrous opinions of philosophers of 
various schools, and the extraordinary and sometimes 
cruel customs of the priests of different religions. 

It is the universal opinion of all times and of all 
nations that these manifold and far-reaching achieve- 
ments spring from a common principle, from that peculiar 
intellectual power which belongs distinctively to man 
and which has been called reason, 6 \oyos, to Xoyiariicov, 
to XoyifMop, ratio. Besides this, no one finds any diffi- 
culty in recognising the manifestations of this faculty, 
and in saying what is rational and what is irrational, 
where reason appears as distinguished from the other 
faculties and qualities of man, or lastly, in pointing out 
what, on account of the want of reason, we must never 
expect even from the most sensible brute. The philoso- 


pliers of all ages may be said to be on the whole at one 
about this general knowledge of reason, and they have 
also given prominence to several very important mani- 
festations of it; such as, the control of the emotions 
and passions, the capacity for drawing conclusions and 
formulating general principles, even such as are true 
prior to all experience, and so forth. Still all their ex- 
planations of the peculiar nature of reason are wavering, 
not clearly defined, discursive, without unity and con- 
centration ; now laying stress on one manifestation, now 
on another, and therefore often at variance with each 
other. Besides this, many start from the opposition 
between reason and revelation, a distinction which is 
unknown to philosophy, and which only increases con- 
fusion. It is very remarkable that up till now no 
philosopher has referred these manifold expressions of. 
reason to one simple function which would be recognised 
in them all, from which they would all be explained, and 
which would therefore constitute the real inner nature 
of reason. It is true that the excellent Locke in the 
"Essay on the Human Understanding" (Book II, ch. xi., 
§§ 10 and 1 1), very rightly refers to general concepts as 
the characteristic which distinguishes man from the 
brutes, and Leibnitz quotes this with full approval in the 
I Nouveaux Essais sur TEntendement Humaine " (Book 
II., ch. xi., §§ io and 1 1.) But when Locke (in Book IV., 
ch. xvii., §§ 2 and 3) comes to the special explanation of 
reason he entirely loses sight of this simple, primary 
characteristic, and he also falls into a wavering, undeter- 
mined, incomplete account of mangled and derivative 
manifestations of it. Leibnitz also, in the corresponding 
part of his work, behaves in a similar manner, only with 
more confusion and indistinctness. In the Appendix, 1 
have fully considered how Kant confused and falsified 
the conception of the nature of reason. But whoever 
will take the trouble to go through in this reference the 
mass of philosophical writing which has appeared since 
vol. 1. D 


Kant, will find out, that just as the faults of princes 
must be expiated by whole nations, the errors of great 
minds extend their influence over whole generations, and 
even over centuries; they grow and propagate them- 
selves, and finally degenerate into monstrosities. All this 
arises from the fact that, as Berkeley says, "Few men 
think ; yet all will have opinions." 

The understanding has only one function — immediate 
knowledge of the relation of cause and effect. Yet the 
perception of the real world, and all common sense, 
sagacity, and inventiveness, however multifarious their 
applications may be, are quite clearly seen to be no- 
thing more than manifestations of that one function. So 
also the reason has one function ; and from it all the 
manifestations of reason we have mentioned, which dis- 
tinguish the life of man from that of the brutes, may 
easily be explained. The application or the non-appli- 
cation of this function is all that is meant by what 
men have everywhere and always called rational and 
irrational. 1 

§ 9. Concepts form a distinct class of ideas, existing 
only in the mind of man, and entirely different from the 
ideas of perception which we have considered up till 
now. We can therefore never attain to a sensuous and, 
properly speaking, evident knowledge of their nature, 
but only to a knowledge which is abstract and discursive. 
It would, therefore, be absurd to demand that they should 
be verified in experience, if by experience is meant the 
real external world, winch consists of ideas of perception, 
or that they should be brought before the eyes or the 
imagination like objects of perception. They can only 
be thought, not perceived, and only the effects which 
men accomplish through them are properly objects of ex- 
perience. Such effects are language, preconceived and 
planned action and science, and all that results from these. 

1 Compare with this paragraph §§ essay on the principle of sufficient 
26 and 27 of the third edition of the reason. 


Speech, as an object of outer experience, is obviously no- 
thing more than a very complete telegraph, which com- 
municates arbitrary signs with the greatest rapidity 
and the finest distinctions of difference. But what do 
these signs mean ? How are they interpreted ? When 
some one speaks, do we at once translate his words into 
pictures of the fancy, which instantaneously flash upon 
us, arrange and link themselves together, and assume 
form and colour according to the words that are poured 
forth, and their grammatical inflections ? What a 
tumult there would be in our brains while we listened 
to a speech, or to the reading of a book ? But what 
actually happens is not this at all. The meaning of 
a speech is, as a rule, immediately grasped, accurately 
and distinctly taken in, without the imagination being 
brought into play. It is reason which speaks to reason^ 
keeping within its own province. It communicates and 
receives abstract conceptions, ideas that cannot be pre- 
sented in perceptions, which are framed once for all, and 
are relatively few in number, but which yet encompass, 
contain, and represent all the innumerable objects of the 
actual world. This itself is sufficient to prove that the 
lower animals can never learn to speak or comprehend, 
although they have the organs of speech and ideas of 
perception in common with us. But because words 
represent this perfectly distinct class of ideas, whose 
subjective correlative is reason, they are without sense 
and meaning for the brutes. Thus language, like every 
other manifestation which we ascribe to reason, and like 
everything which distinguishes man from the brutes, is to 
be explained from this as its one simple source — concep- 
tions, abstract ideas which cannot be presented in percep- 
tion, but are general, and have no individual existence 
j^i space and time. Only in single cases do we pass 
from the conception to the perception, do we construct 
images as representatives of concepts in perception, to 
Nvhich, however, they are never adequate. These cases 


are fully discussed in the essay on the principle ol 
sufficient reason, §28, and therefore I shall not repeat 
my explanation here. It may bo compared, however, 
with what is said by Hume in the twelfth of his " Philo- 
sophical Essays," p. 244, and by Herder in the " Metacri- 
tik," pt i. p. 274 (an otherwise worthless book). The 
Platonic idea, the possibility of which depends upon the 
union of imagination and reason, is the principal subject 
of the third book of this work. 

Although concepts are fundamentally different from 
ideas of perception, they stand in a necessary relation 
to them, without which they would be nothing. This 
relation therefore constitutes the whole nature and exist- 
ence of concepts. Befiection is the necessary copy or 
repetition of the originally presented world of perception, 
but it is a special kind of copy in an entirely different 
material Thus concepts may quite properly be called 
Hdeas of ideas. The principle of sufficient reason has 
here also a special form. Now we have seen that the 
form under which the principle of sufficient reason 
appears in a class of ideas always constitutes and ex- 
hausts the whole nature of the class, so far as it consists 
of ideas, so that time is throughout succession, and 
nothing more ; space is throughout position, and nothing 
more ; matter is throughout causation, and nothing more. 
In the same way the whole nature of concepts, or the 
class of abstract ideas, consists simply in the relation 
which the principle of sufficient reason expresses in them; 
and as this is the relation to the ground of knowledge, 
the whole nature of the abstract idea is simply and solely 
its relation to another idea, which is its ground of know- 
ledge. This, indeed, may, in the first instance, be a 
concept, an abstract idea, and this again may have only 
a similar abstract ground of knowledge ; but the chain 
of grounds of knowledge does not extend ad infinitum; 
it must end at last in a concept which has its ground in 
knowledge of perception ; for the whole world of reflec- 


tion rests on the world of perception as its ground of 
knowledge. Hence the class of abstract ideas is in this 
respect distinguished from other classes; in the latter 
the principle of sufficient reason always demands merely 
a relation to another idea of the same class, but in the 
case of abstract ideas, it at last demands a relation to an 
idea of another class. 

Those concepts which, as has just been pointed out, 
are not immediately related to the world of perception, 
but only through the medium of one, or it may be several 
other concepts, have been called by preference abstracta, 
and those which have their ground immediately in the 
world of perception have been called concreta. But this 
last name is only loosely applicable to the concepts 
denoted by it, for they are always merely abstracta, and 
not ideas of perception. These names, which have 
originated in a very dim consciousness of the distinctions 
they imply, may yet, with this explanation, be retained. 
As examples of the first kind of concepts, i.e., abstracta 
in the fullest sense, we may take ' relation,' ' virtue,' 
'investigation,' 'beginning,' and so on. As examples of 
the second kind, loosely called concreta, we may take- 
such concepts as 'man,' 'stone,' 'horse,' &c. If it were 
not a somewhat too pictorial and therefore absurd simile, 
we might very appropriately call the latter the ground 
floor, and the former the upper stories of the building of 
reflection. 1 

It is not, as is commonly supposed, an essential char- 
acteristic of a concept that it should contain much under 
it, that is to say, that many ideas of perception, or it 
may be other abstract ideas, should stand to it in the 
relation of its ground of knowledge, i.e., be thought 
through it. This is merely a derived and secondary 
characteristic, and, as a matter of fact, does not always 
exist, though it must always exist potentially. This 
characteristic arises from the fact that a concept is an 

1 Cf. Ch. 5 and 6 of the Supplement. 


idea of an idea, i.e. } its whole nature consists in its rela- 
tion to another idea; but as it is not this idea itself, 
which is generally an idea of perception and therefore 
belongs to quite a different class, the latter may have 
temporal, spacial, and other determinations, and in general 
many relations which are not thought along with it in 
the concept. Thus we see that several ideas which are 
different in unessential particulars may be thought by 
means of one concept, i.e., may be brought under it. 
Yet this power of embracing several things is not an 
essential but merely an accidental characteristic of the 
concept There may be concepts through which only one 
real object is thought, but which are nevertheless abstract 
and general, by no means capable of presentation indivi- 
dually and as perceptions. Such, for example, is the 
conception which any one may have of a particular town 
which he only knows from geography; although only 
this one town is thought under it, it might yet be applied 
to several towns differing in certain respects. We see 
then that a concept is not general because of being 
abstracted from several objects ; but conversely, because 
generality, that is to say, non-determination of the par- 
ticular, belongs to the concept as an abstract idea of the 
reason, different things can be thought by means of the 
same one. 

It follows from what has been said that every con- 
cept, just because it is abstract and incapable of 
presentation in perception, and is therefore not a com- 
pletely determined idea, has what is called extension or 
sphere, even in the case in which only one real object 
exists that corresponds to it. Now we always find that 
the sphere of one concept has something in common with 
the sphere of other concepts. That is to say, part of 
what is thought under one concept is the same as what 
is thought under other concepts ; and conversely, part of 
what is thought under these conoepts is the same as 
what is thought under the first ; although, if they are 


really different concepts, each of them, or at least one of 
them, contains something which the other does not con- 
tain ; this is the relation in which every subject stands * 
to its predicate. The recognition of this relation is called 
judgment. The representation of these spheres by means 
of figures in space, is an exceedingly happy idea. It 
first occurred to Gottfried Plouquet, who used squares for 
the purpose. Lambert, although later than him, used 
only lines, which he placed under each other. Euler 
carried out the idea completely with circles. Upon 
what this complete analogy between the relations of 
concepts, and those of figures in space, ultimately rests, I 
am unable to say. It is, however, a very fortunate 
circumstance for logic that all the relations of concepts, 
according to their possibility, i.e., a priori, may be made 
plain in perception by the use of such figures, in the 
following way : — 

( 1 .) The spheres of two concepts coincide : for ex- 
ample the concept of necessity and the concept of 
following from given grounds, in the same way the 
concepts of Buminantia and Bisulca (ruminating and 
cloven-hoofed animals), also those of vertebrate and red- 
blooded animals (although there might be some doubt 
about this on account of the annelida) : they are con- 
vertible concepts. Such concepts are represented by a 
single circle which stands for either of them. 

(2.) The sphere of one concept includes that of the 



(3.) A sphere includes two or more spheres which 
exclude each other and fill it. 

(4.) Two spheres include each a part of the other 

(5.) Two spheres lie in a third, but do not fill it 

This last case applies to all concepts whose spheres 
have nothing immediately in common, for there is always 
a third sphere, often a much wider one, which includes 

To these cases all combinations of concepts may be 
referred, and from them the entire doctrine of the judg- 
ment, its conversion, contraposition, equipollence, disjunc- 
tion (this according to the third figure) may be deduced 


From these also may be derived the properties of the 
judgment, upon which Kant based his pretended cate- 
gories of the understanding, with the exception however 
of the hypothetical form, which is not a combination of 
concepts, but of judgments. A full account is given in 
the Appendix of " Modality," and indeed of every property 
of judgments on which the categories are founded. 

With regard to the possible combinations of concepts 
which we have given, it has only further to be remarked 
that they may also be combined with each other in many 
ways. For example, the fourth figure with the second. 
Only if one sphere, which partly or wholly contains 
another, is itself contained in a third sphere, do these 
together exemplify the syllogism in the first figure, i.e., 
that combination of judgments, by means of which it is 
known that a concept which is partly or wholly con- 
tained in another concept, is also contained in a third 
concept, which again contains the first : and also, con- 
versely, the negation; the pictorial representation of 
which can, of course, only be two connected spheres 
which do not lie within a third sphere. If many spheres 
are brought together in this way we get a long train of 
syllogisms. This schematism of concepts, which has 
already been fairly well explained in more than one text- 
book, may be used as the foundation of the doctrine of 
the judgment, and indeed of the whole syllogistic theory, 
and in this way the treatment of both becomes very 
easy and simple. Because, through it, all syllogistic rules 
may be seen in their origin, and may be deduced and 
explained. It is not necessary, however, to load the 
memory with these rules, as logic is never of practical 
use, but has only a theoretical interest for philosophy. 
For although it may be said that logic is related to 
rational thinking as thorough-bass is to music, or less 
exactly, as ethics is to virtue, or aesthetics to art ; we 
must yet remember that no one ever became an artist by 
the study of aesthetics ; that a noble character was never 


formed by the study of ethics ; that long before Raineau, 
men composed correctly and beautifully, and that we do 
not need to know thorough-bass in order to detect dis- 
cords : and just as little do we need to know logic in 
order to avoid being misled by fallacies. Yet it must be 
conceded that thorough-bass is of the greatest use in 
the practice of musical composition, although it may 
not be necessary for the understanding of it ; and indeed 
aesthetics and even ethics, though in a much less degree, 
and for the most part negatively, may be of some use 
in practice, so that we cannot deny them all practical 
worth, but of logic even this much cannot be conceded. 
It is nothing more than the knowledge in the abstract of 
what every one knows in the concrete. Therefore we 
call in the aid of logical rules, just as little to enable us 
to construct a correct argument as to prevent us from 
consenting to a false one, and the most learned logician 
lays aside the rules of logic altogether in his actual 
thought. This may be explained in the following way. 
Every science is a system of general and therefore ab- 
stract truths, laws, and rules with reference to a special 
class of objects. The individual case coming under these 
laws is determined in accordance with this general know- 
ledge, which is valid once for all ; because such appli- 
cation of the general principle is far easier than the 
exhaustive investigation of the particular case; for the 
general abstract knowledge which has once been obtained 
is always more within our reach than the empirical in- 
vestigation of the particular case. With logic, however, it 
is just the other way. It is the general knowledge of / 
the mode of procedure of the reason expressed in the J\ 
form of rules. It is reached by the introspection of/ 
reason, and by abstraction from all content. But this/ 
mode of procedure is necessary and essential to reasojtf, 
so that it will never depart from it if left to itself. It 
is, therefore, easier and surer to let it proceed itself 
according to its nature in each particular case, than to 


present to it the knowledge abstracted from this pro- 
cedure in the form of a foreign and externally given 
law. It is easier, because, while in the case of all other 
sciences, the general rule is more within our reach than 
the investigation of the particular case taken by itself ; 
with the use of reason, on the contrary, its necessary pro- 
cedure in a given case is always more within our reach 
than the general rule abstracted from it; for that 
which thinks in us is reason itself. It is surer, because a 
mistake may more easily occur in such abstract know- 
ledge, or in its application, than that a process of 
reason should take place which would run contrary to 
its essence and nature. Hence arises the remarkable 
fact, that while in other sciences the particular case is 
always proved by the rule, in logic, on the contrary, the 
rule must always be proved from the particular case ; 
and even the most practised logician, if he remark that in 
some particular case he concludes otherwise than the rule 
prescribes, will always expect to find a mistake in the rule 
rather than in his own conclusion. To desire to make 
practical use of logic means, therefore, to desire to derive 
with unspeakable trouble, from general rules, that which 
is immediately known with the greatest certainty in the 
particular case. It is just as if a man were to consult 
mechanics as to the motion of his body, and physiology as 
to his digestion ; and whoever has learnt logic for prac- 
tical purposes is like him who would teach a beaver to 
make its own dam. Logic is, therefore, without practical 
utility ; but it must nevertheless be retained, because it 
has philosophical interest as the special knowledge of the 
organisation and action of reason. It is rightly regarded 
as a definite, self-subsisting, self-contained, complete, and 
thoroughly safe discipline ; to be treated scientifically 
for itself alone and independently of everything else, and 
therefore to be studied at the universities. But it has 
its real value, in relation to philosophy as a whole, in the 
inquiry into the nature of knowledge, and indeed of 



rational and abstract knowledge. Therefore the exposi- 
tion of logic should not have so much the form of a prac- 
tical science, should not contain merely naked arbitrary 
rules for the correct formation of the judgment, the syllo- 
gism, &c, but should rather be directed to the knowledge 
of the nature of reason and the concept, and to the de- 
tailed investigation of the principle of sufficient reason 
of knowing. For logic is only a paraphrase of this prin- 
ciple, and, more exactly, only of that exemplification of 
it in which the ground that gives truth to the judgment 
is neither empirical nor metaphysical, but logical or me- 
talogical. Besides the principle of sufficient reason of 
knowing, it is necessary to take account of the three re- 
maining fundamental laws of thought, or judgments of 
metalogical truth, so nearly related to it; and out of these 
the whole science of reason grows. The nature of 
thought proper, that is to say, of the judgment and the 
syllogism, must be exhibited in the combination of the 
spheres of concepts, according to the analogy of the 
special schema, in the way shown above; and from all 
this the rules of the judgment and the syllogism are to 
be deduced by construction. The only practical use we 
can make of logic is in a debate, when we can convict our 
antagonist of his intentional fallacies, rather than of his 
actual mistakes, by giving them their technical names. 
By thus throwing into the background the practical aim 
of logic, and bringing out its connection with the whole 
scheme of philosophy as one of its chapters, we do not 
think that we shall make the study of it less prevalent 
than it is just now. For at the present day every one 
who does not wish to remain uncultured, and to be 
numbered with the ignorant and incompetent multitude, 
must study speculative philosophy. For the nineteenth 
century is a philosophical age, though by this we do not 
mean either that it has philosophy, or that philosophy 
governs it, but rather that it is ripe for philosophy, and, 
therefore, stands in need of it. This is a sign of a high 


degree of civilisation, and indeed, is a definite stage in 
the culture of the ages. 1 

Though logic is of so little practical use, it cannot be 
denied that it was invented for practical purposes. It 
appears to me to have originated in the following way : — 
As the love of debating developed among the Eleatics, 
the Megarics, and the Sophists, and by degrees became 
alrr u a passion, the confusion in which nearly every 
debate ended must have made them feel the necessity 
of a method of procedure as a guide ; and for this a 
scientific dialectic had to be sought. The first thing 
which would have to be observed would be that both 
the disputing parties should always be agreed on some 
one proposition, to which the disputed points might be 
referred. The beginning of the methodical procedure 
consisted in this, that the propositions admitted on both 
sides were formally stated to be so, and placed at the 
head of the inquiry. But these propositions were at 
first concerned only with the material of the inquiry. 
It was soon observed that in the process of going back 
to the truth admitted on both sides, and of deducing 
their assertions from it, each party followed certain forms 
and laws about which, without any express agreement, 
there was no difference of opinion. And from this it 
became evident that these must constitute the peculiar 
and natural procedure of reason itself, the form of 
investigation. Although this was not exposed to any 
doubt or difference of opinion, some pedantically 
systematic philosopher hit upon the idea that it would 
look well, and be the completion of the method of 
dialectic, if this formal part of all discussion, this regular 
procedure of reason itself, were to be expressed in abstract 
propositions, just like the substantial propositions admitted 
on both sides, and placed at the beginning of every 
investigation, as the fixed canon of debate to which 
reference and appeal must always be made. In this 

1 Of. Ch. 9 and 10 of the Supplement. 


way what had formerly been followed only by tacit 
agreement, and instinctively, would be consciously re- 
cognised and formally expressed. By degrees, more or 
less perfect expressions were found for the fundamental 
principles of logic, such as the principles of contradiction, 
sufficient reason, excluded middle, the dictum de omni et 
nullo, as well as the special rules of the syllogism, as for 
example, ex vicris particular ibus aut negativis nihil sequi- 
tur, a rationato ad rationem non valet consequentia, and 
so on. That all this was only brought about slowly, and 
with great pains, and up till the time of Aristotle re- 
mained very incomplete, is evident from the awkward 
and tedious way in which logical truths are brought out 
in many of the Platonic dialogues, and still more from 
what Sextus Empiricus tells us of the controversies of 
the Megarics, about the easiest and simplest logical rules, 
and the laborious way in which they were brought into 
a definite form (Sext. Emp. adv. Math. 1. 8, p. 1 1 2). 
But Aristotle collected, arranged, and corrected all that 
had been discovered before his time, and brought it to 
an incomparably greater state of perfection. If we thus 
observe how the course of Greek culture had prepared 
the way for, and led up to the work of Aristotle, we 
shall be little inclined to believe the assertion of the 
Persian author, quoted by Sir William Jones with much 
approval, that Kallisthenes found a complete system of 
logic among the Indians, and sent it to his uncle Aris- 
totle (Asiatic Researches, vol. iv. p. 163). It is easy to 
understand that in the dreary middle ages the Aristote- 
lian logic would be very acceptable to the controversial 
spirit of the schoolmen, which, in the absence of all real 
knowledge, spent its energy upon mere formulas and 
words, and that it would be eagerly adopted even in its 
mutilated Arabian form, and presently established as the 
centre of all knowledge. Though its authority has since 
declined, yet up to our own time logic has retained the 
credit of a self-contained, practical, and highly important 


science. Indeed, in our own day, the Kantian philo- 
sophy, the foundation-stone of which is taken from logic, 
has excited a new interest in it ; which, in this respect, 
at any rate, that is, as the means of the knowledge of 
the nature of reason, it deserves. 

Correct and accurate conclusions may be arrived at 
if we carefully observe the relation of the spheres of 
concepts, and only conclude that one sphere is contained 
in a third sphere, when we have clearly seen that this 
first sphere is contained in a second, which in its turn is 
contained in the third. On the other hand, the art of 
sophistry lies in casting only a superficial glance at the 
relations of the spheres of the concepts, and then mani- 
pulating these relations to suit our purposes, generally 
in the following way : — When the sphere of an observed 
concept lies partly within that of another concept, and 
partly within a third altogether different sphere, we treat 
it as if it lay entirely within the one or the other, as 
may suit our purpose. For example, in speaking of 
passion, we may subsume it under the concept of the 
greatest force, the mightiest agency in the world, or 
under the concept of the irrational, and this again under 
the concept of impotency or weakness. We may then 
repeat the process, and start anew with each concept to 
which the argument leads us. A concept has almost 
always several others, which partially come under it, 
and each of these contains part of the sphere of the first, 
but also includes in its own sphere something more, 
which is not in the first. But we draw attention only 
to that one of these latter concepts, under which we 
wish to subsume the first, and let the others remain un- 
observed, or keep them concealed. On the possession of 
this skill depends the whole art of sophistry and all finer 
fallacies; for logical fallacies such as mentions, velatus, 
cornatus, &c, are clearly too clumsy for actual use. I 
am not aware that hitherto any one has traced the 
nature of all sophistry and persuasion back to this last 


possible ground of its existence, and referred it to the 
peculiar character of concepts, i.e., to the procedure of 
reason itself. Therefore, as my exposition has led me to 
it, though it is very easily understood, I will illustrate it 
in the following table by means of a schema. This table 
is intended to show how the spheres of concepts overlap 
each other at many points, and so leave room for a passage 
from each concept to whichever one we please of several 
other concepts. I hope, however, that no one will be led 
by this table to attach more importance to this little 
explanation, which I have merely given in passing, than 
ought to belong to it, from the nature of the subject. I 
have chosen as an illustration the concept of travelling. 
Its sphere partially includes four others, to any of which 
the sophist may pass at will ; these again partly include 
other spheres, several of them two or more at once, and 
through these the sophist takes whichever way he chooses, 
always as if it were the only way, till at last he reaches, 
in good or evil, whatever end he may have in view. In 
passing from one sphere to another, it is only necessary 
always to follow the direction from the centre (the given 
chief concept) to the circumference, and never to reverse 
this process. Such a piece of sophistry may be either 
an unbroken speech, or it may assume the strict syl- 
logistic form, according to what is the weak side of the 
hearer. Most scientific arguments, and especially philo- 
sophical demonstrations, are at bottom not much more 
than this, for how else would it be possible, that so 
much, in different ages, has not only been falsely appre- 
hended (for error itself has a different source), but 
demonstrated and proved, and has yet afterwards been 
found to be fundamentally wrong, for example, the 
Leibnitz - Wolflan Philosophy, Ptolemaic Astronomy, 
Stahl's Chemistry, Newton's Theory of Colours, &c. &C. 1 

§ i o. Through all this, the question presses ever more 
upon us, how certainty is to be attained, how judgments 

1 Cf. Ch. 1 1 of Supplement. 


are to he established, what constitutes rational knowledge, 
{wissen), and science, which we rank with language and 
deliberate action as the third great benefit conferred by 

Eeason is feminine in nature ; it can only give after 
it has received. Of itself it has nothing but the empty 
forms of its operation. There is no absolutely pure 
rational knowledge except the four principles to which 
I have attributed metalogical truth; the principles of 
identity, contradiction, excluded middle, and sufficient y 
reason of knowledge. For even the rest of logic is not 
absolutely pure rational knowledge. It presupposes the 
relations and the combinations of the spheres of concepts. 
'[But concepts in general only exist after experience of 
j ideas of perception, and as their whole nature consists 
in their relation to these, it is clear that they presuppose 
them. No special content, however, is presupposed, but 
merely the existence of a content generally, and so logic 
as a whole may fairly pass for pure rational science. 
In all other sciences reason has received its content from 
ideas of perception; in mathematics from the relations 
of space and time, presented in intuition or perception 
prior to all experience ; in pure natural science, that is, 
in what we know of the course of nature prior to any 
experience, the content of the science proceeds from the 
pure understanding, i.e., from the a priori knowledge of 
the law of causality and its connection with those pure 
intuitions or perceptions of space and time. In all other 
sciences everything that is not derived from the sources 
we have just referred to belongs to experience. Speak- 
ing generally, to know rationally {wissen) means to have in 
the power of the mind, and capable of being reproduced 
at will, such judgments as have their sufficient ground of 
knowledge in something outside themselves, i.e., are true. 
Thus only abstract cognition is rational knowledge {wissen), 
which is therefore the result of reason, so that we cannot 
accurately say of the lower animals that they rationally 

vol. l E 


know (wissen) anything, although they have apprehension 
of what is presented in perception, and memory of this, 
and consequently imagination, which is further proved 
by the circumstance that they dream. We attribute 
consciousness to them, and therefore although the word 
(bewusstsein) is derived from the verb to know rationally 
(wissen), the conception of consciousness corresponds gene- 
rally with that of idea of whatever kind it may be. Thus 
we attribute life to plants, but not consciousness. Ra- 
tional knowledge (wissen) is therefore abstract conscious- 
ness, the permanent possession in concepts. of the reason, 
of what has become known in another way. 

§ II. In this regard the direct opposite of rational 
knowledge is feeling, and therefore we must insert the 
explanation of feeling here. The concept which the 
word feeling denotes has merely a negative content, 
which is this, that something which is present in con- 
sciousness, is not a concept, is not abstract rational 
knowledge. Except this, whatever it may be, it comes 
under the concept of feeling. Thus the immeasurably 
wide sphere of the concept of feeling includes the most 
different kinds of objects, and no one can ever understand 
how they come together until he has recognised that 
they all agree in this negative respect, that they are not 
abstract concepts. For the most diverse and even antago- 
nistic elements lie quietly side by side in this concept; 
for example, religious feeling, feeling of sensual pleasure, 
moral feeling, bodily feeling, as touch, pain, sense of 
colour, of sounds and their harmonies and discords, 
feeling of hate, of disgust, of self-satisfaction, of honour, 
of disgrace, of right, of wrong, sense of truth, aesthetic 
feeling, feeling of power, weakness, health, friendship, 
love, &c. &c. There is absolutely nothing in common 
among them except the negative quality that they are 
not abstract rational knowledga But this diversity 
becomes more striking when the apprehension of space 
relations presented a priori in perception, and also the 


knowledge of the pure understanding is brought under 
this concept, and when we say of all knowledge and all 
truth, of which we are first conscious only intuitively, 
and have not yet formulated in abstract concepts, we 
feel it. I should like, for the sake of illustration, to 
give some examples of this taken from recent books, 
as they are striking proofs of my theory. I remember 
reading in the introduction to a German translation of 
Euclid, that we ought to make beginners in geometry 
draw the figures before proceeding to demonstrate, for 
in this way they would already feel geometrical 
truth before the demonstration brought them complete 
knowledge. In the same way Schleiermacher speaks in 
his " Critique of Ethics " of logical and mathematical 
feeling (p. 339), and also of the feeling of the sameness 
or difference of two formulas (p. 342). Again Tenne- 
mann in his " History of Philosophy " (vol. I., p. 361) 
says, "One felt that the fallacies were not right, but 
could not point out the mistakes." Now, so long as we 
do not regard this concept "feeling " from the right point 
of view, and do not recognise that one negative character- 
istic which alone is essential to it, it must constantly 
give occasion for misunderstanding and controversy, on 
account of the excessive wideness of its sphere, and its 
entirely negative and very limited content which is de- 
termined in a purely one-sided manner. Since then we 
have in German the nearly synonymous word empfindung 
(sensation), it would be convenient to make use of it for 
bodily feeling, as a sub-species. This concept "feeling," 
which is quite out of proportion to all others, doubtless 
originated in the following manner. All concepts, and 
concepts alone, are denoted by words ; they exist only 
for the reason, and proceed from it. With concepts, 
therefore, we are already at a one-sided point of view ; 
but from such a point of view what is near appears 
distinct and is set down as positive, what is farther off 
becomes mixed up and is soon regarded as merely 


negative. Thus each nation calls all others foreign : to 
the Greek all others are barbarians ; to the Englishman 
all that is not England or English is continent or con- 
tinental ; to the believer all others are heretics, or 
heathens ; to the noble all others are roturiers ; to the 
student all others are Philistines, and so forth. Now, 
reason itself, strange as it may seem, is guilty of the 
same one-sidedness, indeed one might say of the same 
crude ignorance arising from vanity, for it classes under 
the one concept, "feeling? every modification of con- 
sciousness which does not immediately belong to its own 
mode of apprehension, that is to say, which is not an 
abstract concept It has had to pay the penalty of this 
hitherto in misunderstanding and confusion in its own 
province, because its own procedure had not become 
clear to it through thorough self-knowledge, for a special 
faculty of feeling has been set up, and new theories of 
it are constructed. 

§ 1 2. Rational knowledge {wissen) is then all abstract 
knowledge, — that is, the knowledge which is peculiar to 
the reason as distinguished from the understanding. Its 
contradictory opposite has just been explained to be the 
concept " feeling." Now, as reason only reproduces, for 
knowledge, what has been received in another way, it 
does not actually extend our knowledge, but only gives it 
another form. It enables us to know in the abstract 
and generally, what first became known in sense-per- 
ception, in the concrete. But this is much more important 
than it appears at first sight when so expressed. For it 
depends entirely upon the fact that knowledge has 
become rational or abstract knowledge {wissen), that it 
can be safely preserved, that it is communicable and 
susceptible of certain and wide-reaching application to 
practice. Knowledge in the form of sense-perception is 
valid only of the particular case, extends only to what is 
nearest, and ends with it, for sensibility and understand- 
ing can only comprenend one object at a time. Every 


enduring, arranged, and planned activity must therefore 
proceed from principles, — that is, from abstract know- 
ledge, and it must be conducted in accordance with 
them. Thus, for example, the knowledge of the relation 
of cause and effect arrived at by the understanding, is in 
itself far completer, deeper and more exhaustive than 
anything that can be thought about it in the abstract ; 
the understanding alone knows in perception directly 
and completely the nature of the effect of a lever, of a 
pulley, or a cog-wheel, the stability of an arch, and so 
forth. But on account of the peculiarity of the know- 
ledge of perception just referred to, that it only extends 
to what is immediately present, the mere understanding 
can never enable us to construct machines and buildings. 
Here reason must come in ; it must substitute abstract 
concepts for ideas of perception, and take them as the 
guide ofjaction ; and if they are right, the anticipated 
result will happen. In the same way we have perfect 
knowledge in pure perception of the nature and constitu- 
tion of the parabola, hyperbola, and spiral ; but if we are 
to make trustworthy application of this knowledge to the 
real, it must first become abstract knowledge, and by this 
it certainly loses its character of intuition or perception, 
but on the other hand it gains the certainty and pre- 
ciseness of abstract knowledge. The differential calculus 
does not really extend our knowledge of the curve, it con- 
tains nothing that was not already in the mere pure 
perception of the curve ; but it alters the kind of know- 
ledge, it changes the intuitive into an abstract knowledge, 
which is so valuable for application. But here we must 
refer to another peculiarity of our faculty of knowledge, 
which could not be observed until the distinction between 
the knowledge of the senses and understanding and 
abstract knowledge had been made quite clear. It is 
this, that relations of space cannot as such be directly 
translated into abstract knowledge, but only temporal 
quantities, — that is, numbers, are suitable for this. 


Numbers alone can be expressed in abstract concepts 
which accurately correspond to them, not spacial quanti- 
ties. The concept " thousand " is just as different from 
the concept "ten," as both these temporal quantities are 
in perception. We think of a thousand as a distinct 
multiple of ten, into which we can resolve it at pleasure 
for perception in time, — that is to say, we can count it. 
But between the abstract concept of a mile and that of a 
foot, apart from any concrete perception of either, and 
without the help of number, there is no accurate dis- 
tinction corresponding to the quantities themselves. In 
both we only think of a spacial quantity in general, and if 
they must be completely distinguished we are compelled 
either to call in the assistance of intuition or perception 
in space, which would be a departure from abstract 
knowledge, or we must think the difference in number*. 
If then we wish to have abstract knowledge of space- 
relations we must first translate them into time-relations, 
— that is, into numbers ; therefore only arithmetic, and 
not geometry, is the universal science of quantity, and 
geometry must be translated into arithmetic if it is to 
be communicable, accurately precise and applicable in 
practice. It is true that a space-relation as such may 
also be thought in the abstract ; for example, " the 
sine increases as the angle," but if the quantity of this 
relation is to be given, it requires number for its expres- 
sion. This necessity, that if we wish to have abstract 
knowledge of space-relations (ie., rational knowledge, 
not mere intuition or perception), space with its three 
dimensions must be translated into time which has only 
one dimension, this necessity it is, which makes mathe- 
matics so difficult. This becomes very clear if we 
compare the perception of curves with their analytical 
calculation, or the table of logarithms of the trigono- 
metrical functions with the perception of the changing 
relations of the parts of a triangle, which are expressed by 
them. What vast mazes of figures, what laborious calcu- 


lations it would require to express in the abstract what 
perception here apprehends at a glance completely and 
with perfect accuracy, namely, how the co-sine diminishes 
as the sine increases, how the co-sine of one angle is the 
sine of another, the inverse relation of the increase and 
decrease of the two angles, and so forth. How time, we 
might say, must complain, that with its one dimension it 
should be compelled to express the three dimensions of 
space ! Yet this is necessary if we wish to possess, for 
application, an expression, in abstract concepts, of space- 
relations. They could not be translated directly into 
abstract concepts, but only through the medium of the 
pure temporal quantity, number, which alone is directly 
related to abstract knowledge. Yet it is worthy of re- 
mark, that as space adapts itself so well to perception, 
and by means of its three dimensions, even its com- 
plicated relations are easily apprehended, while it eludes 
the grasp of abstract knowledge ; time, on the contrary, 
passes easily into abstract knowledge, but gives very little 
to perception. Our perceptions of numbers in their 
proper element, mere time, without the help of space, 
scarcely extends as far as ten, and beyond that we have 
only abstract concepts of numbers, no knowledge of them 
which can be presented in perception. On the other hand, 
we connect with every numeral, and with all algebraical 
symbols, accurately denned abstract concepts. 

We may further remark here that some minds only 
find full satisfaction in what is known through percep- 
tion. What they seek is the reason and consequent of 
being in space, sensuously expressed ; a demonstration 
after the manner of Euclid, or an arithmetical solution of 
spacial problems, does not please them. Other minds, 
on the contrary, seek merely the abstract concepts which 
are needful for applying and communicating knowledge. 
They have patience and memory for abstract principles, 
formulas, demonstrations in long trains of reasoning, and 
calculations, in which the symbols represent the most 


complicated abstractions. The latter seek preciseness, 
the former sensible perception. The difference is charac- 

.The greatest value of rational or abstract knowledge is 
that it can be communicated and permanently retained. 
It is principally on this account that it is so inestimably 
important for practice. Any one may have a direct 
perceptive knowledge through the understanding alone, 
of the causal connection, of the changes and motions of 
natural bodies, and he may find entire satisfaction in 
it; but he cannot communicate this knowledge to others 
until it has been made permanent for thought in concepts. 
Knowledge of the first kind is even sufficient for practice, 
if a man puts his knowledge into practice himself, in an 
action which can be accomplished while the perception is 
still vivid ; but it is not sufficient if the help of others 
is required, or even if the action is his own but must 
be carried out at different times, and therefore requires 
a pre-conceived plan. Thus, for, example, a practised 
billiard-player may have a perfect knowledge of the laws 
of the impact of elastic bodies upon each other, merely 
in the understanding, merely for direct perception ; and 
for him it is quite sufficient ; but on the other hand it 
is only the man who has studied the science of me- 
chanics, who has, properly speaking, a rational knowledge 
of these laws, that is, a knowledge of them in the 
abstract. Such knowledge of the understanding in per- 
ception is sufficient even for the construction of machines, 
when the inventor of the machine executes the work 
himself; as we often see in the case of talented work- 
men, who have no scientific knowledge. But whenever a 
number of men, and their united action taking place at 
different times, is required for the completion of a mechani- 
cal work, of a machine, or a building, then he who conducts 
it must have thought out the plan in the abstract, and 
such co-operative activity is only possible through the 
assistance of reasoa It is, however, remarkable that in 


the first kind of activity, in which we have supposed 
that one man alone, in an uninterrupted course of action, 
accomplishes something, abstract knowledge, the appli- 
cation of reason or reflection, may often be a hindrance 
to him ; for example, in the case of billiard-playing, of 
fighting, of tuning an instrument, or in the case of sing- 
ing. Here perceptive knowledge must directly guide 
action ; its passage through reflection makes it uncertain, 
for it divides the attention and confuses the man. Thus 
savages and untaught men, who are little accustomed 
to think, perform certain physical exercises, fight with 
beasts, shoot with bows and arrows and the like, with a 
certainty and rapidity which the reflecting European 
never attains to, just because his deliberation makes him 
hesitate and delay. For he tries, for example, to hit the 
right position or the right point of time, by finding out 
the mean between two false extremes ; while the savage 
hits it directly without thinking of the false courses open 
to him. In the same way it is of no use to me to know 
in the abstract the exact angle, in degrees and minutes, 
at which I must apply a razor, if I do not know it in- 
tuitively, that is, if I have not got it in my touch. The 
knowledge of physiognomy also, is interfered with by the 
application of reason. This knowledge must be gained 
directly through the understanding. We say that the 
expression, the meaning of the features, can only be 
j%5T)fchat is, it cannot be put into abstract concepts. 
Every man has his direct intuitive method of physiog- 
nomy and pathognomy, yet one man understands more 
clearly than another these signatura rerum. But an 
abstract science of physiognomy to be taught and learned 
is not possible ; for the distinctions of difference are here 
so fine that concepts cannot reach them ; therefore ab- 
stract knowledge is related to them as a mosaic is to a 
painting by a Van der Werft or a Denner. In mosaics, 
however fine they may be, the limits of the stones are 
always there, and therefore no continuous passage from 


one colour to another is possible, and this is also the 
case with regard to concepts, with their rigidity and 
sharp delineation ; however finely we may divide them 
by exact definition, they are still incapable of reaching 
the finer modifications of the perceptible, and this is just 
what happens in the example we have taken, knowledge 
of physiognomy. 1 

This quality of concepts by which they resemble the 
stones of a mosaic, and on account of which perception 
always remains their asymptote, is also the reason why 
nothing good is produced in art by their means. If the 
singer or the virtuoso attempts to guide his execution 
by reflection he remains silent. And this is equally 
true of the composer, the painter, and the poet The 
concept always remains unfruitful in art; it can only 
direct the technical part of it, its sphere is science. We 
shall consider more fully in the third book, why all true 
art proceeds from sensuous knowledge, never from the 
concept Indeed, with regard to behaviour also, and 
personal agreeableness in society, the concept has only a 
negative value in restraining the grosser manifestations 
of egotism and brutality ; so that a polished manner is 
its commendable production. But all that is attractive, 
gracious, charming in behaviour, all affectionateness and 
friendliness, must not proceed from the concepts, for if it 
does, " we feel intention, and are put out of tune." All 
dissimulation is the work of reflection; but it cannot 
be maintained constantly and without interruption : " nemo 

1 I am therefore of opinion that arched brow ; but snch a brow often 
a science of physiognomy cannot, occurs where there is no genius. A 
with certainty, go further than to clever-looking person may the more 
lay down a few quite general rules, certainly be judged to be so the 
For example, the intellectual quali- uglier the face is ; and a stupid- 
ties are to be read in the forehead looking person may the more cer- 
and the eyes ; the moral qualities, tainly be judged to be stupid the 
the expression of will, in the mouth more beautiful the face is ; for 
and lower part of the face. The beauty, as the approximation to the 
forehead and the eyes interpret each type of humanity, carries in and for 
other ; either of them seen alone itself the expression of mental clear- 
can only be half understood. Genius ness ; the opposite is the case with 
is never without a high, broad, finely- ugliness, and so forth. 



potest personam diu ferre fictum" says Seneca in his book 
de dementia ; and so it is generally found out and loses 
its effect. Keason is needed in the full stress of life, 
where quick conclusions, bold action, rapid and sure 
comprehension are required, but it may easily spoil all if 
it gains the upper hand, and by perplexing hinders the 
intuitive, direct discovery, and grasp of the right by 
simple understanding, and thus induces irresolution. 

Lastly, virtue and holiness do not proceed from 
reflection, but from the inner depths of the will, and its 
relation to knowledge. The exposition of this belongs to 
another part of our work ; this, however, I may remark 
here, that the dogmas relating to ethics may be the same 
in the reason of whole nations, but the action of every 
individual different; and the converse also holds good; 
action, we say, is guided by feelings, — that is, simply not 
by concepts, but as a matter of fact by the ethical 
character. Dogmas occupy the idle reason; but action 
in the end pursues its own course independently of 
them, generally not according to abstract rules, but 
according to unspoken maxims, the expression of which 
is the whole man himself. Therefore, however different 
the religious dogmas of nations may be, yet in the case 
of all of them, a good action is accompanied by un- 
speakable satisfaction, and a bad action by endless 
remorse. No mockery can shake the former ; no priest's 
absolution can deliver from the latter. Notwithstanding 
this, we must allow, that for the pursuit of a virtuous 
life, the application of reason is needful ; only it is not 
its source, but has the subordinate function of preserving 
resolutions which have been made, of providing maxims 
to withstand the weakness of the moment, and give con- 
sistency to action. It plays the same part ultimately 
in art also, where it has just as little to do with the 
essential matter, but assists in carrying it out, for genius 
is not always at call, and yet the work must be com- 
pleted in all its parts and rounded off to a whole. 1 
1 Cf. Ch. 7 of the Supplement 


§ 13. All these discussions of the advantages and dis- 
advantages of the application of reason are intended to 
show, that although abstract rational knowledge is the 
reflex of ideas of perception, and is founded on them, it 
is by no means in such entire congruity with them that 
it could everywhere take their place: indeed it never 
corresponds to them quite accurately. And thus, as we 
have seen, many human actions can only be performed 
by the help of reason and deliberation, and yet there are 
some which are better performed without its assistance. 
This very incongruity of sensuous and abstract know- 
ledge, on account of which the latter always merely 
approximates to the former, as mosaic approximates to 
painting, is the cause of a very remarkable phenomenon 
which, like reason itself, is peculiar to human nature, 
and of which the explanations that have ever anew been 
attempted, are insufficient: I mean laughter. On account 
of the source of this phenomenon, we cannot avoid giving 
the explanation of it here, though it again interrupts the 
course of our work to do so. The cause of laughter in | 
every case is simply the sudden perception of the incon- 
gruity between a concept and the real objects which 
have been thought through it in some relation, and 
laughter itself is just the expression of this incongruity. 
It often occurs in this way : two or more real objects are 
thought through one concept, and the identity of the con- 
cept is transferred to the objects; it then becomes 
strikingly apparent from the entire difference of the 
objects in other respects, that the concept was only 
applicable to them from a one-sided point of view. It 
occurs just as often, however, that the incongruity between 
a single real object and the concept under which, from 
one point of view, it has rightly been subsumed, is 
suddenly felt. Now the more correct the subsumption 
of such objects under a concept may be from one point 
of view, and the greater and more glaring their incon- 
gruity with it, from another point of view, the greater is 


the ludicrous effect which is produced by this con- 
trast. All laughter then is occasioned by a paradox, and 
therefore by unexpected subsumption, whether this is 
expressed in words or in actions. This, briefly stated, is 
the true explanation of the ludicrous. 

I shall not pause here to relate anecdotes as examples 
to illustrate my theory ; for it is so simple and compre- 
hensible that it does not require them, and everything 
ludicrous which the reader may remember is equally 
valuable as a proof of it. But the theory is confirmed 
and illustrated by distinguishing two species into which 
the ludicrous is divided, and which result from the 
theory. Either, we have previously known two or more 
very different real objects, ideas of sense-perception, and 
have intentionally identified them through the unity of a 
concept which comprehends them both ; this species of 
the ludicrous is called wit. Or, conversely, the concept 
is first present in knowledge, and we pass from it to 
reality, and to operation upon it, to action: objects 
which in other respects are fundamentally different, but 
which are all thought in that one concept, are now 
regarded and treated in the same way, till, to the sur- 
prise and astonishment of the person acting, the great 
difference of their other aspects appears : this species of the 
ludicrous is called folly. Therefore everything ludicrous 
is either a flash of wit or a foolish action, according as 
the procedure has been from the discrepancy of the 
objects to the identity of the concept, or the converse ; 
the former always intentional, the latter always unin- 
tentional, and from without. To seem to reverse the 
starting-point, and to conceal wit with the mask of folly, 
is the art of the jester and the clown. Being quite aware 
of the diversity of the objects, the jester unites them, 
with secret wit, under one concept, and then starting 
from this concept he receives from the subsequently 
discovered diversity of the objects the surprise which 
he himself prepared, It follows from this short but 


sufficient theory f the ludicrous, that, if we set aside the 
last case, that of the jester, wit must always show itself 
in words, folly generally in actions, though also in words 
when it only expresses an intention and does not actually 
carry * out , or when „ ghoW8 ^ me ^ J 

and opinions. 

iWrafty is a form of folly. It arises in this way a 
man lacks confidence in his own understanding, and 
therefor* does not wish to trust to it, to recognis°e what 
« right directly in the particular case. He, therefore, 
puts it entirely under the control of the reason, and 
seeks to be guided by reason in everything; that is to 
ay, he tries always to proceed from general concepts, 
rules, and maxims, and to confine himself strictly to 
them m hie, in art, and even in moral conduct Hence 
that clinging to the form, to the manner, to the ex- 
pression and word which is characteristic of pedantry 
and which with it takes the place of the real naturelf 
he matter. The incongruity then between the concept 
and reality soon shows itself here, and it becomes 
evident that the former never condescends to the Tar- 
icnlar case, and that with its generality and rigid 
defimteness it can never accurately apply to the fine 

of the '7 f ^fT 8nd ----ble'modification 
of the actual. Therefore, the pedant, with his general 
maxims, almost always misses the mark in life shows 
Wei to be foolish, awkward, useless. In 'arl 2 
whmh the concept is unfruitful, he produces lifeless, stiff 

™L% m T n r- EV6n W " h r< * ard 'o ethic, the 
purpose to act rightly or nobly cannot always be carried 

ZL'V ^ , with abstr ^ maxima; for in many 

cases the excessively nice distinctions in the nature of 
the circumstances necessitate a choice of the right pro- 
ceeding directly from the character; for the application 
of mere abstract maxims sometimes gives false results, 
because the maxims only half apply; and sometimes 
cannot be carried out, because they are foreign to the 


individual character of the actor, and this never allows 
itself to be entirely discovered ; therefore, inconsistencies 
arise. Since then Kant makes it a condition of the 
moral worth of an action, that it shall proceed from pure 
rational abstract maxims, without any inclination or 
momentary emotion, we cannot entirely absolve him 
from the reproach of encouraging moral pedantry. 
This reproach is the significance of Schiller's epigram, 
entitled " Scruples of Conscience." When we speak, 
especially in connection with politics, of doctrinaires, 
theorists, savants, and so forth, we mean pedants, that is, 
persons who know the things well in the abstract, but not 
in the concrete. Abstraction consists in thinking away 
the less general predicates ; but it is precisely upon these 
that so much depends in practice. 

To complete our theory it remains for us to mention a 
spurious kind of wit, the play upon words, the calembourg, 
the pun, to which may be added the equivocation, the 
double entendre, the chief use of which is the expression 
of what is obscene. Just as the witticism brings two 
very different real objects under one concept, the pun 
brings two different concepts, by the assistance of 
accident, under one word. The same contrast appears, 
only familiar and more superficial, because it does not 
spring from the nature of things, but merely from the 
accident of nomenclature. In the case of the witticism 
the identity is in the concept, the difference in the 
reality, but in the case of the pun the difference is in 
the concepts and the identity in the reality, for the 
terminology is here the reality. It would only be a some- 
what far-fetched comparison if we were to say that the 
pun is related to the witticism as the parabola (sic) of 
the upper inverted cone to that of the lower. The mis- 
understanding of the word or the quid pro quo is the 
unintentional pun, and is related to it exactly as folly is 
to wit. Thus the deaf man often affords occasion for 
laughter, just as much as the fool, and inferior writers 


of comedy often use the former for the latter to raise a 

I have treated laughter here only from the psychical 
side ; with regard to the physical side, I refer to what is 
said on the subject in the " Parerga," vol. II. ch. vi., § 98. 1 

§ 14. By means of these various discussions it is 
hoped that both the difference and the relation between 
the process of knowledge that belongs to the reason, 
rational knowledge, the concept on the one hand, and the 
direct knowledge in purely sensuous, mathematical intui- 
tion or perception, and apprehension by the understand- 
ing on the other hand, has been clearly brought out. 
This remarkable relation of our kinds of knowledge led 
us almost inevitably to give, in passing, explanations of 
feeling and of laughter, but from all this we now turn back 
to the further consideration of science as the third great 
benefit which reason confers on man, the other two beinsr 
speech and deliberate action. The general discussion of 
science which now devolves upon us, will be concerned 
partly with its form, partly with the foundation of its 
judgments, and lastly with its content. 

We have seen that, with the exception of the basis of 
pure logic, rational knowledge in general has not its 
source in the reason itself; but having been otherwise 
obtained as knowledge of perception, it is stored up in 
the reason, for through reason it has entirely changed its 
character, and has become abstract knowledge. All 
rational knowledge, that is, knowledge that has been 
raised to consciousness in the abstract, is related to 
science strictly so called, as a fragment to the whole. 
Every one has gained a rational knowledge of many 
different things through experience, through considera- 
tion of the individual objects presented to him, but only 
he who sets himself the task of acquiring a complete 
knowledge in the abstract of a particular class of objects, 
strives after science. This class can only be marked off 

1 Cf. Ch. 8 of Supplement 


by means of a concept ; therefore, at the beginning of 
every science there stands a concept, and by means of 
it the class of objects concerning which this science 
promises a complete knowledge in the abstract, is separ- 
ated in thought from the whole world of things. For 
example, the concept of space-relations, or of the action 
of unorganised bodies upon each other, or of the nature 
of plants, or of animals, or of the successive changes of 
the surface of the globe, or of the changes of the human 
race as a whole, or of the construction of a language, 
and so forth. If science sought to obtain the know- 
ledge of its object, by investigating each individual thing 
that is thought through the concept, till by degrees 
it had learned the whole, no human memory would be 
equal to the task, and no certainty of completeness would 
be obtainable. Therefore, it makes use of that property 
of concept-spheres explained above, that they include 
each other, and it concerns itself mainly with the wider 
spheres which lie within the concept of its object in 
general. When the relations of these spheres to each 
other have been determined, all that is thought in them 
is also generally determined, and can now be more and 
more accurately determined by the separation of smaller 
and smaller concept-spheres. In this way it is possible 
for a science to comprehend its object completely. This 
path which it follows to knowledge, the path from the 
general to the particular, distinguishes it from ordinary 
rational knowledge ; therefore, systematic form is an 
essential and characteristic feature of science. The 
combination of the most general concept- spheres of every 
science, that is, the knowledge of its first principles, is 
the indispensable condition of mastering it ; how far we 
advance from these to the more special propositions is a 
matter of choice, and does not increase the thoroughness 
but only the extent of our knowledge of the science. 
The number of the first principles to which all the rest 
are subordinated, varies greatly in the different sciences, 
vol 1. F 


so that in some there is more subordination, in others 
more co-ordination ; and in this respect, the former make 
greater claims upon the judgment, the latter upon the 
memory. It was known to the schoolmen, 1 that, as the 
syllogism requires two premises, no science can proceed 
from a single first principle which cannot be the subject 
of further deduction, but must have several, at least two. 
The specially classifying sciences : Zoology, Botany, and 
also Physics and Chemistry, inasmuch as they refer all 
inorganic action to a few fundamental forces, have most 
subordination ; history, on the other hand, has really none 
at all ; for the general in it consists merely in the survey 
of the principal periods, from which, however, the parti- 
cular events cannot be deduced, and are only subordinated 
to them according to time, but according to the concept 
are co-ordinate with them. Therefore, history, strictly 
speaking, is certainly rational knowledge, but is not 
science. In mathematics, according to Euclid's treat- 
ment, the axioms alone are indemonstrable first principles, 
and all demonstrations are in gradation strictly subor- 
dinated to them. But this method of treatment is not 
essential to mathematics, and in fact each proposition 
introduces quite a new space construction, which in itself 
is independent of those which precede it, and indeed can 
be completely comprehended from itself, quite independ- 
ently of them, in the pure intuition or perception of 
space, in which the most complicated construction is just 
as directly evident as the axiom ; but of this more fully 
hereafter. Meanwhile every mathematical proposition re- 
mains always a universal truth, which is valid for innumer- 
able particular cases ; and a graduated process from the 
simple to the complicated propositions which are to be 
deduced from them, is also essential to mathematics; there- 
fore, in every respect mathematics is a science. The com- 
pleteness of a science as such, that is, in respect of form, 
consists in there being as much subordination and as little 

1 Suarez, Disput. Metaphysics, disp. iii. sect. 3, tit. 3. 


co-ordination of the principles as possible. Scientific 
talent in general is, therefore, the faculty of subordinating 
the concept-spheres according to their different determina- 
tions, so that, as Plato repeatedly counsels, a science shall 
not be constituted by a general concept and an indefinite 
multiplicity immediately under it, but that knowledge 
shall descend by degrees from the general to the par- 
ticular, through intermediate concepts and divisions, 
according to closer and closer definitions. In Kantian 
language this is called satisfying equally the law of 
homogeneity and that of specification. It arises from 
this peculiar nature of scientific completeness, that the 
aim of science is not greater certainty — for certainty 
may be possessed in just as high a degree by the most 
disconnected particular knowledge — but its aim is rather 
the facilitating of rational knowledge by means of its 
form, and the possibility of the completeness of rational 
knowledge which this form affords. It is therefore a 
very prevalent but perverted opinion that the scientific 
character of knowledge consists in its greater certainty, 
and just as false is the conclusion following from this, 
that, strictly speaking, the only sciences are mathematics 
and logic, because only in them, on account of their 
purely a priori character, is there unassailable certainty 
of knowledge. This advantage cannot be denied them, 
but it gives them no special claim to be regarded as 
sciences ; for the special characteristic of science does 
not lie in certainty but in the systematic form of know- 
ledge, based on the gradual descent from the general 
to the particular. The process of knowledge from the 
general to the particular, which is peculiar to the sciences, 
involves the necessity that in the sciences much should 
be established by deduction from preceding propositions, 
that is to say, by demonstration ; and this has given rise 
to the old mistake that only what has been demonstrated is 
absolutely true, and that every truth requires a demons- 
tration ; whereas, on the contrary, every demonstration 


requires an undemonstrated truth, which ultimately sup- 
ports it, or it may be, its own demonstration. Therefore 
a directly established truth is as much to be preferred to 
a truth established by demonstration as water from the 
spring is to water from the aqueduct. Egrception, partly 
pure a priori, as it forms the basis of mathematics, partly 
empirical a posterim, as it forms the basis of all the other 
sciences, is the source of all truth and the foundation of 
all science. (Logic alone is to be excepted, which is not 
founded upon perception but yet upon direct knowledge 
by the reason of its own laws.) Not the demonstrated 
judgments nor their demonstrations, but judgments which 
are created directly out of perception, and founded upon 
it rather than on any demonstrations, are to science what 
the sun is to the world ; for all light proceeds from them, 
end lighted by their light the others give light also. To, 
QstabUsh the truth of such primary judgments directly 
from perception, to raise such strongholds of science from 
the innumerable multitude of real objects, that is the 
work of the faculty of judgment, which consists in the 
power of rightly and accurately carrying over into abstract 
consciousness what is known in perception, and judgment 
is consequently the mediator between understanding and 
reason. Only extraordinary and exceptional strength of 
judgment in the individual can actually advance science ; 
but every one who is possessed of a healthy reason is able 
to deduce propositions from propositions, to demonstrate, 
to draw conclusions. To lay down and make permanent 
for reflection, in suitable concepts, what is known through 
perception, so that, on the one hand, what is common to 
many real objects is thought through one concept, and, 
on the other hand, their points of difference are each 
thought through one concept, so that the different shall 
be known and thought as different in spite of a partial 
agreement, and the identical shall be known and thought 
as identical in spite of a partial difference, all in accord- 
ance with the end and intention which in each case 


is in view ; all this is done by the faculty of judgment. 
Deficiency in judgment is silliness. The silly man fails 
to grasp, now the partial or relative difference of con- 
cepts which in one aspect are identical, now the identity 
of concepts which are relatively or partially different. To 
this explanation of the faculty of judgment, moreover, 
Kant's division of it into reflecting and subsuming judg- 
ment may be applied, according as it passes from the 
perceived objects to the concepts, or from the latter to 
the former ; in both cases always mediating between em- 
pirical knowledge of the understanding and the reflective 
knowledge of the reason. There can be no truth which 
could be brought out by means of syllogisms alone ; 
and the necessity of establishing truth by means of 
syllogisms is merely relative, indeed subjective. Since all 
demonstration is syllogistic, in the case of a new truth 
we must first seek, not for a demonstration, but for direct 
evidence, and only in the absence of such evidence is a 
demonstration to be temporarily made use of. No science 
is susceptible of demonstration throughout any more than 
a building can stand in the air; all its demonstrations 
must ultimately rest upon what is perceived, and conse- 
quently cannot be demonstrated, for the whole world 
of reflection rests upon and is rooted in the world of 
perception. All primal, that is, original, evidence is a 
perception, as the word itself indicates. Therefore it 
is either empirical or founded upon the perception a 
priori of the conditions of possible experience. In both 
cases it affords only immanent, not transcendent know- 
ledge. Every concept has its worth and its existence 
only in its relation, sometimes very indirect, to an idea 
of perception ; what is true of the concepts is also true 
of the judgments constructed out of them, and of all 
science. Therefore it must in some way be possible to 
know directly without demonstrations or syllogisms every 
truth that is arrived at through syllogisms and communi- 
cated by demonstrations. This is most difficult in the 

■ 7 



case of certain complicated mathematical propositions 
at which we only arrive by chains of syllogisms; for 
example, the calculation of the chords and tangents to 
all arcs by deduction from the proposition of Pythagoras. 
But even such a truth as this cannot essentially and 
solely rest upon abstract principles, and the space-rela- 
tions which lie at its foundation also must be capable of 
being so presented a prion in pure intuition or perception 
that the truth of their abstract expression is directly 
established. But of mathematical demonstration we shall 
speak more fully shortly. 

It is true we often hear men speak in a lofty strain 
of sciences which rest entirely upon correct conclusions 
drawn from sure premises, and which are consequently 
unassailable. But through pure logical reasoning, how- 
ever true the premises may be, we shall never receive 
more than an articulate expression and exposition of 
what lies already complete in the premises ; thus we 
shall only explicitly expound what was already implicitly 
understood. The esteemed sciences referred to are, 
however, specially the mathematical sciences, particularly 
astronomy. But the certainty of astronomy arises from 
the fact that it has for its basis the intuition or percep- 
tion of space, which is given a priori, and is therefore 
infallible. All space-relations, however, follow from 
each other with a necessity (ground of being) which 
affords a priori certainty, and they can therefore be 
safely deduced from each other. To these mathematical 
properties we have only to add one force of nature, 
gravity, which acts precisely in relation to the masses 
and the square of the distance ; and, lastly, the law of 
inertia, which follows from the law of causality and is 
therefore true a priori, and with it the empirical datum 
of the motion impressed, once for all, upon each of these 
masses. This is the whole material of astronomy, which 
both by its simplicity and its certainty leads to definite 
results, which are highly interesting on account of the 


vastuess and importance of the objects. For example, if 
I know the mass of a planet and the distance of its 
satellite from it, I can tell with certainty the period of 
the revolution of the latter according to Kepler's second 
law. But the ground of this law is, that with this 
distance only this velocity will both chain the satellite to 
the planet and prevent it from falling into it Thus it is 
only upon such a geometrical basis, that is, by means of 
an intuition or perception a priori, and also under the 
application of a law of nature, that much can be arrived 
at by means of syllogisms, for here they are merely like 
bridges from one sensuous apprehension to others ; but it 
is not so with mere pure syllogistic reasoning in the 
exclusively logical method. The source of the first 
fundamental truths of astronomy is, however, properly 
induction, that is, the comprehension of what is given 
in many perceptions in one true and directly founded 
judgment. From this, hypotheses are afterwards con- 
structed, and their confirmation by experience, as induc- 
tion approaching to completeness, affords the proof of the 
first judgment. For example, the apparent motion of 
the planets is known empirically; after many false 
hypotheses with regard to the spacial connection of this 
motion (planetary course) the right one was at last found, 
then the laws which it obeyed (the laws of Kepler), and, 
lastly, the cause of these laws (universal gravitation), 
and the empirically known agreement of all observed 
cases with the whole of the hypotheses, and with their 
consequences, that is to say, induction, established them 
with complete certainty. The invention of the hy- 
potheses was the work of the judgment, which rightly 
comprehended the given facts and expressed them 
accordingly ; but induction, that is, a multitude of per- 
ceptions, confirmed their truth. But their truth could 
also be known directly, and by a single empirical percep- 
tion, if we could pass freely through space and had 
telescopic eyes. Therefore, here also syllogisms are not 


the essential and only source of knowledge, but really 
only a makeshift. 

As a third example taken from a different sphere we 
may mention that the so-called metaphysical truths, that 
is, such truths as those to which Kant assigns the 
position of the metaphysical first principles of natural 
science, do not owe their evidence to demonstration. 
What is a priori certain we know directly ; as the form 
of all knowledge, it is known to us with the most complete 
necessity. For example, that matter is permanent, that is, 
can neither come into being nor pass away, we know directly 
as negative truth ; for our pure intuition or perception of 
space and time gives the possibility of motion ; in the 
law of causality the understanding affords us the possi- 
bility of change of form and quality, but we lack powers 
of the imagination for conceiving the coming into being 
or passing away of matter. Therefore that truth has at 
all times been evident to all men everywhere, nor has 
it ever been seriously doubted ; and this could not be the 
case if it had no other ground of knowledge than the 
abstruse and exceedingly subtle proof of Kant. But 
besides this, I have found Kant's proof to be false (as is 
explained in the Appendix), and have shown above that 
the permanence of matter is to be deduced, not from 
the share which time has in the possibility of experience, 
but from the share which belongs to space. r £he true 
foundation of all truths which in this sense are called 
metaphysical, that is, abstract expressions of the neces- 
sary and universal forms of knowledge, cannot itself lie 
in abstract principles ; but only in the immediate con- 
sciousness of the forms of the idea communicating itself 
in apodictic assertions a priori, and fearing no refutation. 
But if we yet desire to give a proof of them, it can only 
. consist in showing that what is to be proved is contained 
in some truth about which there is no doubt, either as a 
part of it or as a presupposition. Thus, for example, 
1 have shown that all empirical perception implies the 


application of the law of causality, the knowledge of 
which is hence a condition of all experience, and there- 
fore cannot be first given and conditioned through ex- 
perience as Hume thought. Demonstrations in general /\j 
are not so much for those who wish to learn as for those 
who wish to dispute. Such persons stubbornly deny 
directly established insight ; now only the truth can be 
consistent in all directions, and therefore we must show 
such persons that they admit under one form and 
indirectly, what they deny under another form and 
directly; that is, the logically necessary connection 
between what is denied and what is admitted. 

It is also a consequence of the scientific form, the 
subordination of everything particular under a general, 
and so on always to what is more general, that the truth 
of many propositions is only logically proved, — that is, 
through their dependence upon other propositions, through 
syllogisms, which at the same time appear as proofs. 
But we must never forget that this whole form of science 
is merely a means of rendering knowledge more easy, not 
a means to greater certainty. It is easier to discover the 
nature of an animal, by means of the species to which 
it belongs, and so on through the genus, family, order, 
and class, than to examine on every occasion the animal 
presented to us : but the truth of all propositions arrived 
at syllogistically is always conditioned by and ultimately 
dependent upon some truth which rests not upon reason- 
ing but upon perception. If this perception were always 
as much within our reach as a deduction through syllo- 
gisms, then it would be in every respect preferable. For 
every deduction from concepts is exposed to great danger 
of error, on account of the fact we have considered above, 
that so many spheres lie partly within each other, and 
that their content is often vague or uncertain. This is 
illustrated by a multitude of demonstrations of false 
doctrines and sophisms of every kind. Syllogisms are 
indeed perfectly certain as regards form, but they are 


very uncertain on account of their matter, the concepts. 
For, on the one hand, the spheres of these are not 
sufficiently sharply defined, and, on the other hand, they 
intersect each other in so many ways that one sphere is 
in part contained in many others, and we may pass at 
will from it to one or another of these, and from this 
sphere again to others, as we have already shown. Or, 
in other words, the minor term and also the middle 
can always be subordinated to different concepts, from 
which we may choose at will the major and the middle, 
and the nature of the conclusion depends on this choice. 
Consequently immediate evidence is always much to be 
preferred to reasoned truth, and the latter is only to be 
accepted when the former is too remote, and not when 
it is as near or indeed nearer than the latter. Accord- 
ingly we saw above that, as a matter of fact, in the case 
of logic, in which the immediate knowledge in each 
individual case lies nearer to hand than deduced scientfic 
knowledge, we always conduct our thought according to 
our immediate knowledge of the laws of thought, and 
leave logic unused. 1 

§ i 5. If now with our conviction that perception is the 
primary source of all evidence, and that only direct or 
indirect connection with it is absolute truth ; and further, 
that the shortest way to this is always the surest, as 
every interposition of concepts means exposure to many 
deceptions ; if, I say, we now turn with this conviction 
to mathematics, as it was established as a science by 
Euclid, and has remained as a whole to our own day, we 
cannot help regarding the method it adopts, as strange 
and indeed perverted. We ask that eveiy logical proof 
shall be traced back to an origin in perception ; but 
mathematics, on the contrary, is at great pains deliberately 
to throw away the evidence of perception which is 
peculiar to it, and always at hand, that it may substitute 
for it a logical demonstration. This must seem to us 

1 Cf. Ch. 12 of Supplement. 


like the action of a man who cuts off his legs in order to 
go on crutches, or like that of the prince in the " Triumph 
der Empfindsamkeit" who flees from the beautiful reality 
of nature, to delight in a stage scene that imitates it. I 
must here refer to what I have said in the sixth chap- 
ter of the essay on the principle of sufficient reason, and 
take for granted that it is fresh and present in the 
memory of the reader ; so that I may link my observa- 
tions on to it without explaining again the difference 
between the mere ground of knowledge of a mathematical 
truth, which can be given logically, and the ground of 
being, which is the immediate connection of the parts of 
space and time, known only in perception. It is only 
insight into the ground of being that secures satisfaction 
and thorough knowledge. The^mere ground of know- 
ledge must always remain superficial ; it can afford us 
indeed rational knowledge that a thing is as it is, but it 
cannot tell why it is so. Euclid chose the latter way to 
the obvious detriment of the science. For just at the 
beginning, for example, when he ought to show once for 
all how in a triangle the angles and sides reciprocally 
determine each other, and stand to each other in 
the relation of reason and consequent, in accordance 
with the form which the principle of sufficient reason 
has in pure space, and which there, as in every other 
sphere, always affords the necessity that a thing is as it 
is, because something quite different from it, is as it is ; 
instead of in this way giving a thorough insight into the 
nature of the triangle, he sets up certain disconnected 
arbitrarily chosen propositions concerning the triangle, 
and gives a logical ground of knowledge of them, through 
a laborious logical demonstration, based upon the 
principle of contradiction. Instead of an exhaustive 
knowledge of these space-relations we therefore receive 
merely certain results of them, imparted to us at 
pleasure, and in fact we are very much in the position 
of a man to whom the different effects of an ingenious 


machine are shown, but from whom its inner connection 
and construction are withheld. We are compelled by 
the principle of contradiction to admit that what Euclid 
demonstrates is true, but we do not comprehend why it 
is so. We have therefore almost the same uncomfortable 
feeling that we experience after a juggling trick, and, in 
fact, most of Euclid's demonstrations are remarkably like 
such feats. The truth almost always enters by the back 
door, for it manifests itself per accidens through some 
contingent circumstance. Often a reductio ad ahsurdum 
shuts all the doors one after another, until only one is 
left through which we are therefore compelled to enter. 
Often, as in the proposition of Pythagoras, lines are 
drawn, we don't know why, and it afterwards appears 
that they were traps which close unexpectedly and take 
prisoner the assent of the astonished learner, who must 
now admit what remains wholly inconceivable in its inner 
connection, so much so, that he may study the whole of 
Euclid through and through without gaining a real insight 
into the laws of space-relations, but instead of them he 
only learns by heart certain results which follow from 
them. This specially empirical and unscientific know- 
ledge is like that of the doctor who knows both the 
disease and the cure for it, but does not know the con- 
/ nection between them. But all this is the necessary 
consequence if we capriciously reject the special kind of 
proof and evidence of one species of knowledge, and 
forcibly introduce in its stead a kind which is quite 
foreign to its nature. However, in other respects the 
manner in which this has been accomplished by Euclid 
deserves all the praise which has been bestowed on him 
through so many centuries, and which has been carried 
so far that his method of treating mathematics has been 
set up as the pattern of all scientific exposition. Men 
tried indeed to model all the sciences after it, but later 
they gave up the attempt without quite knowing why. 
Yet in our eyes this method of Euclid in mathematics 


can appear only as a very brilliant piece of perversity. 
But when a great error in life or in science has been 
intentionally and methodically carried out with universal 
applause, it is always possible to discover its source in 
the philosophy which prevailed at the time. The Eleatics 
first brought out the difference, and indeed often the 
conflict, that exists between what is perceived, fawofievov, 1 
and what is thought, vovpevov, and used it in many ways 
in their philosophical epigrams, and also in sophisms. 
They were followed later by the Megarics, the Dialec- 
ticians, the Sophists, the New- Academy, and the Sceptics ; 
these drew attention to the illusion, that is to say, to the 
deception of the senses, or rather of the understanding 
which transforms the data of the senses into perception, 
and which often causes us to see things to which the 
reason unhesitatingly denies reality ; for example, a stick 
broken in water, and such like. It came to be known 
that sense-perception was not to be trusted uncondition- 
ally, and it was therefore hastily concluded that only 
rational, logical thought could establish truth ; although 
Plato (in the Parmenides), the Megarics, Pyrrho, and 
the New- Academy, showed by examples (in the manner 
which was afterwards adopted by Sextus Empiricus) how 
syllogisms and concepts were also sometimes misleading, 
and indeed produced paralogisms and sophisms which 
arise much more easily and are far harder to explain 
than the illusion of sense-perception. However, this 
rationalism, which arose in opposition to empiricism, kept 
the upper hand, and Euclid constructed the science of 
mathematics in accordance with it. He was compelled 
by necessity to found the axioms upon evidence of per- 
ception (<f)cuvofievov), but all the rest he based upon 
reasoning (vov/nevov). His method reigned supreme 
through all the succeeding centuries, and it could not 
but do so as long as pure intuition or perception, a priori, 

1 The reader must not think here terms, which is condemned in the 
of Kant's misuse of these Greek Appendix. 


was not distinguished from empirical perception. Certain 
passages from the works of Proclus, the commentator of 
Euclid, which Kepler translated into Latin in his book, 
"De Harmonia Mundi," seem to show that he fully 
recognised this distinction. But Proclus did not attach 
enough importance to the matter ; he merely mentioned 
it by the way, so that he remained unnoticed and accom- 
plished nothing. Therefore, not till two thousand years 
later will the doctrine of Kant, which is destined to make 
such great changes in all the knowledge, thought, and 
action of European nations, produce this change in 
mathematics also. For it is only after we have learned 
from this great man that the intuitions or perceptions of 
space and time are quite different from empirical per- 
ceptions, entirely independent of any impression of the 
senses, conditioning it, not conditioned by it, i.e. t are a 
priori, and therefore are not exposed to the illusions of 
sense ; only after we have learned this, I say, can we 
comprehend that Euclid's logical method of treating 
mathematics is a useless precaution, a crutch for sound 
legs, that it is like a wanderer who during the night 
mistakes a bright, firm road for water, and carefully 
avoiding it, toils over the broken ground beside it, con- 
tent to keep from point to point along the edge of the 
supposed water. Only now can we affirm with certainty 
that what presents itself to us as necessary in the per- 
ception of a figure, does not come from the figure on the 
paper, which is perhaps very defectively drawn, nor from 
the abstract concept under which we think it, but imme- 
diately from the form of all knowledge of which we are 
conscious a priori. This is always the principle of 
sufficient reason ; here as the form of perception, ie., 
space, it is the principle of the ground of being, the 
evidence and validity of which is, however, just as great 
and as immediate as that of the principle of the ground 
of knowing, i.e., logical certainty. Thus we need not and 
ought not to leave the peculiar province of mathematics 



in order to put our trust only in logical proof, and seek 
to authenticate mathematics in a sphere which is quite 
foreign to it, that of concepts. If we confine ourselves to 
the ground peculiar to mathematics, we gain the great 
advantage that in it the rational knowledge that something 
is, is one with the knowledge why it is so, whereas the 
method of Euclid entirely separates these two, and lets 
us know only the first, not the second. Aristotle says 
admirably in the Analyt., post. i. 27 : " A/cpifiearepa 8 
ein<TTr)fi7] €TTiaTrifn)<; kcli irpoTepa, r)T6 tov otl /cai tov 
Slotl r] avrrj, aWa firj %o)pt? tov otl, T779 tov Slotl" 
(Subtilior autem et praestantior ea est scientia, qua QUOD 
aliquid sit, et CUR sit una simulque intelligimus non 
separatim QUOD, et cur sit). In physics we are only 
satisfied when the knowledge that a thing is as it is 
is combined with the knowledge why it is so. To 
know that the mercury in the Torricellian tube stands 
thirty inches high is not really rational knowledge if 
we do not know that it is sustained at this height by the 
counterbalancing weight of the atmosphere. Shall we 
then be satisfied in mathematics with the qualitas occulta 
of the circle that the segments of any two intersecting 
chords always contain equal rectangles? That it is so 
Euclid certainly demonstrates in the 35 th Prop, of the 
Third Book ; why it is so remains doubtful. In the same 
way the proposition of Pythagoras teaches us a qualitas 
occulta of the right-angled triangle ; the stilted and indeed 
fallacious demonstration of Euclid forsakes us at the why, 
and a simple figure, which we already know, and which 
is present to us, gives at a glance far more insight into 
the matter, and firm inner conviction of that necessity, and 
of the dependence of that quality upon the right angle : — 


In the case of unequal catheti also, and indeed generally 
in the case of every possible geometrical truth, it is quite 
possible to obtain such a conviction based on perception, 
because these truths were always discovered by such an 
empirically known necessity, and their demonstration was 
only thought out afterwards in addition. Thus we only 
require an analysis of the process of thought in the first 
discovery of a geometrical truth in order to know its 
necessity empirically. It is the analytical method in 
general that I wish for the exposition of mathematics, 
instead of the synthetical method which Euclid made 
use of. Yet this would have very great, though not 
insuperable, difficulties in the case of complicated mathe- 
matical truths. Here and there in Germany men are 
beginning to alter the exposition of mathematics, and to 
proceed more in this analytical way. The greatest effort 
in this direction has been made by Herr Kosack, teacher 
of mathematics and physics in the Gymnasium at Nord- 
hausen, who added a thorough attempt to teach geometry 
according to my principles to the programme of the school 
examination on the 6th of April 1852. 

In order to improve the method of mathematics, it is 
especially necessary to overcome the prejudice that 
demonstrated truth has any superiority over what is 
known through perception, or that logical truth founded 
upon the principle of contradiction has any superiority 
over metaphysical truth, which is immediately evident, and 
to which belongs the pure intuition or perception of space, 

.That which is most certain, and yet always inexplicable, 
is what is involved in the principle of sufficient reason, 
for this principle, in its different aspects, expresses the 
universal form of all our ideas and knowledge. All 
explanation consists of reduction to it, exemplification in 
the particular case of the connection of ideas expressed 
generally through it. It is thus the principle of all 
explanation, and therefore it is neither susceptible of an 
explanation itself, nor does it stand in need of it; for 


every explanation presupposes it, and only obtains mean- 
ing through it. Now, none of its forms are superior to 
the rest ; "ltfTs equally certain and incapable of demon- 
stration as the principle of the ground of being, or of 
change, or of action, or of knowing. The relation of reason 
and consequent is a necessity in all its forms, and indeed 
it is, in general, the source of the concept of necessity, 
for necessity has no other meaning. If the reason is given 
there is no other necessity than that of the consequent, 
and there is no reason that does not involve the necessity 
of the consequent. Just as surely then as the conse- 
quent expressed in the conclusion follows from the 
ground of knowledge given in the premises, does the 
ground of being in space determine its consequent in 
space: if I know through perception the relation of 
these two, this certainty is just as great as any logical 
certainty. But every geometrical proposition is just as 
good an expression of such a relation as one of the 
twelve axioms ; it is a metaphysical truth, and as such, 
just as certain as the principle of contradiction itself, 
which is a metalogical truth, and the common founda- 
tion of all logical demonstration. Whoever denies the 
necessity, exhibited for intuition or perception, of the 
space-relations expressed in any proposition, may just as 
well deny the axioms, or that the conclusion follows from 
the premises, or, indeed, he may as well deny the 
principle of contradiction itself, for all these relations 
I are equally undemonstrable, immediately evident and 
I known a priori. For any one to wish to derive the 
necessity of space-relations, known in intuition or per- 
ception, from the principle of contradiction by means of 
a logical demonstration is just the same as for the feudal 
superior of an estate to wish to hold it as the vassal of 
another. Yet this is what Euclid has done. His 
axioms only, he is compelled to leave resting upon 
immediate evidence ; all the geometrical truths which 
follow are demonstrated logically, that is to say, from 

VOL. I. G 


the agreement of the assumptions made in the pro- 
position with the axioms which are presupposed, or with 
some earlier proposition; or from the contradiction between 
the opposite of the proposition and the assumptions made 
in it, or the axioms, or earlier propositions, or even itself! 
But the axioms themselves have no more immediate 
evidence than any other geometrical problem, but only 
more simplicity on account of their smaller content. 

When a criminal is examined, a proccs-verlal is made 
of his statement in order that we may judge of its truth 
from its consistency. But this is only a makeshift, and 
we are not satisfied with it if it is possible to investigate 
the truth of each of his answers for itself; especially 
as he might lie consistently from the beginning. But 
Euclid investigated space according to this first method. 
He set about it, indeed, under the correct assumption 
that nature must everywhere be consistent, and that 
therefore it must also be so in space, its fundamental 
form. Since then the parts of space stand to each other 
in a relation of reason and consequent, no single property 
of space can be different from what it is without being 
in contradiction with all the others. But this is a very 
troublesome, unsatisfactory, and roundabout way to 
follow. It prefers indirect knowledge to direct, which is 
just as certain, and it separates the knowledge that a 
thing is from the knowledge why it is, to the great dis- 
advantage of the science ; and lastly, it entirely withholds 
from the beginner insight into the laws of space, and 
indeed renders him unaccustomed to the special investi- 
gation of the ground and inner connection of things, 
inclining him to be satisfied with a mere historical 
knowledge that a thing is as it is. The exercise of 
acuteness which this method is unceasingly extolled as 
affording consists merely in this, that the pupil practises 
drawing conclusions, t.e., he practises applying the prin- 
ciple of contradiction, but specially he exerts his memory 
to retain all those data whose agreement is to be tested. 


Moreover, it is worth noticing that this method of 
proof was applied only to geometry and not to arithmetic. 
In arithmetic the truth is really allowed to come home 
to ns through perception alone, which in it consists 
simply in counting. As the perception of numbers is 
in time alone, and therefore cannot be represented by a 
sensuous schema like the geometrical figure, the suspicion 
that perception is merely empirical, and possibly illusive, 
disappeared in arithmetic, and the introduction of the 
logical method of proof into geometry was entirely due 
to this suspicion. As time has only one dimension, 
counting is the only arithmetical operation, to which all 
others may be reduced ; and yet counting is just intui- 
tion or perception a priori, to which there is no hesitation 
in appealing here, and through which alone everything else, 
every sum and every equation, is ultimately proved. We 
prove, for example, not that l 7+9 ^ 8 " 2 — 42 ; but we refer to 
the pure perception in time, counting thus makes each 
individual problem an axiom. Instead of the demonstra- 
tions that fill geometry, the whole content of arithmetic 
and algebra is thus simply a method of abbreviating 
counting. We mentioned above that our immediate 
perception of numbers in time extends only to about 
ten. Beyond this an abstract concept of the numbers, 
fixed by a word, must take the place of the perception ; 
which does not therefore actually occur any longer, but 
is only indicated in a thoroughly definite manner. Yet 
even so, by the important assistance of the system of 
figures which enables us to represent all larger numbers 
by the same small ones, intuitive or perceptive evidence 
of every sum is made possible, even where we make 
such use of abstraction that not only the numbers, but 
indefinite quantities and whole operations are thought 
only in the abstract and indicated as so thought, as ^/r 5 
so that we do not perform them, but merely symbolise 

We might establish truth in geometry also, through 


pure a priori perception, with the same right and 
certainty as in arithmetic. It is in fact always this 
necessity, known through perception in accordance with 
the principle of sufficient reason of being, which gives to 
geometry its principal evidence, and upon which in the 
consciousness of every one, the certainty of its propositions 
rests. The stilted logical demonstration is always foreign 
to the matter, and is generally soon forgotten, without 
weakening our conviction. It might indeed be dispensed 
with altogether without diminishing the evidence of 
geometry, for this is always quite independent of such 
demonstration, which never proves anything we are not 
convinced of already, through another kind of knowledge. 
So far then it is like a cowardly soldier, who adds a 
wound to an enemy slain by another, and then boasts 
that he slew him himself. 1 

After all this we hope there will be no doubt that 
the evidence of mathematics, which has become the 
pattern and symbol of all evidence, rests essentially not 
upon demonstration, but upon immediate perception, 
which is thus here, as everywhere else, the ultimate 
ground and source of truth. Yet the perception which 
lies at the basis of mathematics has a great advantage 
over all other perception, and therefore over empirical 
perception. It is a priori, and therefore independent of 
experience, which is always given only in successive 
parts ; therefore everything is equally near to it, and we 
can start either from the reason or from the consequent, 
as we please. Now this makes it absolutely reliable, 

1 Spinoza, who always boasts that self {substantia causa sui, (fee.), and 

he proceeds more geometrico, has in the demonstrations he allows 

actually done so more than he him- himself all the freedom of choice for 

self was aware. For what he knew which the nature of the wide con- 

with certainty and decision from the cept-spheres afford such convenient 

* • * fx rill. _ 1. L! n H/v<i^i*ma !■ 

Willi ueru.uiii.^ mm uamuunuui ««*> *~ r » ~, TrnT v 

immediate, perceptive apprehension opportunity. That his doctrine » 
of the nature of the world, he seeks true and excellent is therefore in 
to demonstrate logically without 
reference to this knowledge. He 
only arrives at the intended and pre- 
determined result by starting from 
arbitrary concepts framed by him- 

of the nature ot the world, ne seeKs irue »uu caubucuv .* «~w~ — 

to demonstrate logically without his case, as in that of geometry, 

reference to this knowledge. He quite independent of the demonstra- 

only arrives at the intended and pre- tions of it. Cf. ch. 1 3 of supplemen- 

determined result by starting from tary volume. 


for in it the consequent is known from the reason, 
and this is the only kind of knowledge that has 
necessity; for example, the equality of the sides is 
known as established by the equality of the angles. All 
empirical perception, on the other hand, and the greater 
part of experience, proceeds conversely from the conse- 
quent to the reason, and this kind of knowledge is not 
infallible, for necessity only attaches to the consequent 
on account of the reason being given, and no necessity 
attaches to the knowledge of the reason from the conse- 
quent, for the same consequent may follow from different 
reasons. The latter kind of knowledge is simply induc- 
tion, i.e. y from many consequents which point to one 
reason, the reason is accepted as certain; but as the 
cases can never be all before us, the truth here is not 
unconditionally certain. But all knowledge through 
sense-perception, and the great bulk of experience, has 
only this kind of truth. The affection of one of the 
senses induces the understanding to infer a cause of the 
effect, but, as a conclusion from the consequent to the 
reason is never certain, illusion, which is deception of 
the senses, is possible, and indeed often occurs, as was 
pointed out above. Only when several of the senses, or 
it may be all the five, receive impressions which point to 
the same cause, the possibility of illusion is reduced to a 
minimum ; but yet it still exists, for there are cases, for 
example, the case of counterfeit money, in which all the 
senses are deceived. All empirical knowledge, and con- 
sequently the whole of natural science, is in the same 
position, except only the pure, or as Kant calls it, meta- 
physical part of it. Here also the causes are known 
from the effects, consequently all natural philosophy 
rests upon hypotheses, which are often false, and must 
then gradually give place to more correct ones. Only 
in the case of purposely arranged experiments, knowledge 
proceeds from the cause to the effect, that is, it follows 
the method that affords certainty ; but these experiments 


themselves are undertake n in consequence of hypotheses. 
Therefore, no branch of natural science, such as physics, 
or astronomy, or physiology could be discovered all at 
once, as was the case with mathematics and logic, but 
required and requires the collected and compared ex- 
periences of many centuries. In the first place, repeated 
confirmation in experience brings the induction, upon 
which the hypothesis rests, so near completeness that in 
practice it takes the place of certainty, and is regarded 
as diminishing the value of the hypothesis, its source, 
just as little as the incommensurability of straight and 
curved lines diminishes the value of the application of 
geometry, or that perfect exactness of the logarithm, 
which is not attainable, diminishes the value of arith- 
metic. For as the logarithm, or the squaring of the 
circle, approaches infinitely near to correctness through 
infinite fractions, so, through manifold experience, the 
induction, i.e., the knowledge of the cause from the 
effects, approaches, not infinitely indeed, but yet so near 
mathematical evidence, i.e., knowledge of the effects from 
the cause, that the possibility of mistake is small enough 
to be neglected, but yet the possibility exists ; for ex- 
ample, a conclusion from an indefinite number of cases 
to all cases, i.e., to the unknown ground on which all 
depend, is an induction. What conclusion of this kind 
seems more certain than that all men have the heart on 
the left side ? Yet there are extremely rare and quite 
isolated exceptions of men who have the heart upon the 
right side. Sense-perception and empirical science have, 
therefore, the same kind of evidence. The advantage 
which mathematics, pure natural science, and logic have 
over them, as a priori knowledge, rests merely upon this, 
that the formal element in knowledge upon which all 
that is a priori is based, is given as a whole and at once, 
and therefore in it we can always proceed from the cause 
to the effect, while in the former kind of knowledge we 
are generally obliged to proceed from the effect to the 


cause. In other respects, the law of causality, or the 
principle of sufficient reason of change, which guides 
empirical knowledge, is in itself just as certain as the 
other forms of the principle of sufficient reason which 
are followed by the a priori sciences referred to above. 
Logical demonstrations from concepts or syllogisms have 
the advantage of proceeding from the reason to the con- 
sequent, just as much as knowledge through perception a 
priori, and therefore in themselves, i.e., according to their 
form, they are infallible. This has greatly assisted to 
bring demonstration in general into such esteem. But 
this infallibility is merely relative; the demonstration 
merely subsumes under the first principles of the science, 
and it is these which contain the whole material truth of 
science, and they must not themselves be demonstrated, 
but must be founded on perception. In the few a priori 
sciences we have named above, this perception is pure, 
but everywhere else it is empirical, and is only raised 
to universality through induction. If, then, in the em- 
pirical sciences also, the particular is proved from the 
general, yet the general, on the other hand, has received 
its truth from the particular ; it is only a store of collected 
material, not a self-constituted foundation. 

So much for the foundation of truth. Of the source 
and possibility of error many explanations have been 
tried since Plato's metaphorical solution of the dove-cot 
where the wrong pigeons are caught, &c. (Thesetetus, p. 
167, et seq.) Kant's vague, indefinite explanation of the 
source of error by means of the diagram of diagonal 
motion, will be found in the " Critique of Pure Beason," 
p. 294 of the first edition, and p. 350 of the fifth. As 
truth is the relation of a judgment to its ground of know- 
ledge, it is always a problem how the person judging can 
believe that he has such a ground of knowledge and yet 
not have it ; that is to say, how error, the deception of 
reason, is possible. I find this possibility quite analogous 
to that of illusion, or the deception of the understanding, 


which has been explained above. My opinion is (and 
this is what gives this explanation its proper place here) 
that every error is an inference from the consequent to tJu 
reason, which indeed is valid when we know that the 
consequent lias that reason and can have no other ; but 
otherwise is not valid. The person who falls into error, 
either attributes to a consequent a reason which it can- 
not have, in which case he shows actual deficiency of 
understanding, i.e., deficiency in the capacity for imme- 
diate knowledge of the connection between the cause and 
the effect, or, as more frequently happens, he attributes 
to the effect a cause which is possible, but he adds to the 
major proposition of the syllogism, in which he infers 
the cause from the effect, that this effect always results 
only from this cause. Now he could only be assured 
of this by a complete induction, which, however, he 
assumes without having made it. This ' always ' is there- 
fore too wide a concept, and instead of it he ought to 
have used 'sometimes' or 'generally.' The conclusion 
would then be problematical, and therefore not erroneous. 
That the man who errs should proceed in this way is 
due either to haste, or to insufficient knowledge of what 
is possible, on account of which he does not know the 
necessity of the induction that ought to be made. Error 
then is quite analogous to illusion. Both are inferences 
from the effect to the cause ; the illusion brought about 
always in accordance with the law of causality, and by 
the understanding alone, thus directly, in perception 
itself ; the error in accordance with all the forms of the 
principle of sufficient reason, and by the reason, thus in 
thought itself; yet most commonly in accordance with 
the law of causality, as will appear from the three 
following examples, which may be taken as types or 
representatives of the three kinds of error, (i.) The 
illusion of the senses (deception of the understanding) 
induces error (deception of the reason) ; for example, if 
one mistakes a painting for an alto-relief, and actually 


takes it for such; the error results from a conclusion 
from the following major premise : " If dark grey passes 
regularly through all shades to white ; the cause is always 
the light, which strikes differently upon projections and 
depressions, ergo — ." (2.) " If there is no money in my 
safe, the cause is always that my servant has got a key 
for it : ergo — ." (3.) "If a ray of sunlight, broken 
through a prism, i.e., bent up or down, appears as a 
coloured band instead of round and white as before, the 
cause must always be that light consists of homogeneous 
rays, differently coloured and refrangible to different 
degrees, which, when forced asunder on account of the 
difference of their refrangibility, give an elongated and 
variously -coloured spectrum : ergo — bibamus ! " — It must 
be possible to trace every error to such a conclusion, 
drawn from a major premise which is often only falsely 
generalised, hypothetical, and founded on the assumption 
that some particular cause is that of a certain effect. 
Only certain mistakes in counting are to be excepted, 
and they are not really errors, but merely mistakes. 
The operation prescribed by the concepts of the numbers 
has not been carried out in pure intuition or perception, 
in counting, but some other operation instead of it. 

As regards the content of the sciences generally, it is, 
in fact, always the relation of the phenomena of the 
world to each other, according to the principle of sufficient 
reason, under the guidance of the why, which has validity 
and meaning only through this principle. Explanation is 
the establishment of this relation. Therefore explanation 
can never go further than to show two ideas standing to 
each other in the relation peculiar to that form of the 
principle of sufficient reason which reigns in the class to 
which they belong. If this is done we cannot further be 
asked the question, why: for the relation proved is that 
one which absolutely cannot be imagined as other than it 
is, i.e., it is the form of all knowledge. Therefore we do 
not ask why 2 + 2 — 4 ; or why the equality of the 


angles of a triangle determines the equality of the sides ; 
or why its effect follows any given cause ; or why the 
truth of the conclusion is evident from the truth of the 
premises. Every explanation which does not ultimately 
lead to a relation of which no "why" can further be 
demanded, stops at an accepted qualitas occulta; but this 
is the character of every original force of nature. Every 
explanation in natural science must ultimately end with 
such a qualitas occulta, and thus with complete obscurity. 
It must leave the inner nature of a stone just as much 
unexplained as that of a human being; it can give as 
little account of the weight, the cohesion, the chemical 
qualities, &c, of the former, as of the knowing and acting 
of the latter. Thus, for example, weight is a qualitas 
occulta, for it can be thought away, and does not proceed 
as a necessity from the form of knowledge ; which, on the 
contrary, is not the case with the law of inertia, for it 
follows from the law of causality, and is therefore 
sufficiently explained if it is referred to that law. .There 
are two things which are altogether inexplicable, — that 
is to say, do not ultimately lead to the relation which the 
principle of sufficient reason expresses. These are, first, 
the principle of sufficient reason itself in all its four 
forms, because it is the principle of all explanation, which 
has meaning only in relation to it; secondly, that to 
which this principle does not extend, but which is the 
original source of all phenomena ; the thing-in-itself, the 
knowledge of which is not subject to the principle of 
sufficient reason. We must be content for the present 
not to understand this thing-in-itself, for it can only be 
made intelligible by means of the following book, in 
which we shall resume this consideration of the possible 
achievements of the sciences. But at the point at which 
natural science, and indeed every science, leaves things, 
because not only its explanation of them, but even the 
principle of this explanation, the principle of sufficient 
reason, does not extend beyond this point ; there philoso- 


phy takes them up and treats them after its own method, 
which is quite distinct from the method of science. In 
my essay on the principle of sufficient reason, § 51,1 
have shown how in the different sciences the chief guiding 
clue is one or other form of that principle ; and, in fact, 
perhaps the most appropriate classification of the sciences 
might he hased upon this circumstance. Every explana- 
tion arrived at by the help of this clue is, as we have 

/^.said, merely relative; it explains things in relation to 
each other, but something which indeed is presupposed is 
always left unexplained. In mathematics, for example, 
this is space and time; in mechanics, physics, and 
chemistry it is matter, qualities, original forces and laws 
of nature ; in botany and zoology it is the difference of 
species, and life itself; in history it is the human race 
with all its properties of thought and will : in all it is 
that form of the principle of sufficient reason which is 
respectively applicable. It is peculiar to philosophy that 
it presupposes nothing as known, but treats everything as 
equally external and a problem ; not merely the relations 
of phenomena, but also the phenomena themselves, and 
even the principle of sufficient reason to which the other 
sciences are content to refer everything. In philosophy 
nothing would be gained by such a reference, as one 
member of the series is just as external to it as another; 
and, moreover, that kind of connection is just as much a 
problem for philosophy as what is joined together by it, 
and the latter again is just as much a problem after its 
combination has been explained as before it. For, as we 

, /have said, just what the sciences presuppose and lay down 
' as the basis and the limits of their explanation, is pre- 
cisely and peculiarly the problem of philosophy, which 
may therefore be said to begin where science ends. It 
cannot be founded upon demonstrations, for they lead 
from known principles to unknown, but everything is 
equally unknown and external to philosophy. There can 
be no principle in consequence of which the world with 


all its phenomena first came into existence, and there- 
fore it is not possible to construct, as Spinoza wished, 
a philosophy which demonstrates ex fir mis principiis. 
Philosophy is the most general rational knowledge, the 
first principles of which cannot therefore be derived from 
another principle still more general. The principle of con- 
tradiction establishes merely the agreement of concepts, 
but does not itself produce concepts. The principle of 
sufficient reason explains the connections of phenomena, 
but not the phenomena themselves ; therefore philosophy 
cannot proceed upon these principles to seek a causa 
cjjiciens or a causa finalis of the whole world. My philo- 
sophy, at least, does not by any means seek to know 
whence or where/ore the world exists, but merely what the 
world is. But the why is here subordinated to the 
what, for it already belongs to the world, as it arises and 
has meaning and validity only through the form of its 
phenomena, the principle of sufficient reason. We might 
indeed say that every one knows what the world is with- 
out help, for he is himself that subject of knowledge of 
£ which the world is the idea; and so far this would be 

true. But that knowledge is empirical, is in the con- 
crete ; the task of philosophy is to reproduce this in 
the abstract to raise to permanent rational knowledge 
the successive changing perceptions, and in general, all 
that is contained under the wide concept of feeling and 
merely negatively defined as not abstract, distinct, rational 
\ knowledge. It must therefore consist of a statement in 
^ the abstract, of the nature of the whole world, of the 
whole, and of all the parts. In order then that it may 
not lose itself in the endless multitude of particular judg- 
ments, it must make use of abstraction and think every- 
thing individual in the universal, and its differences also 
in the universal. It must therefore partly separate and 
partly unite, in order to present to rational knowledge 
the whole manifold of the world generally, according to 
its nature, comprehended in a few abstract concepts. 


Through these concepts, in which it fixes the nature of 
the world, the whole individual must be known as well 
as the universal, the knowledge of both therefore must 
be bound together to the minutest point. Therefore the 
capacity for philosophy consists just in that in which 
Plato placed it, the knowledge of the one in the many, 
and the many in the one. Philosophy will therefore be 
a sum-total of general judgments, whose ground of know- 
ledge is immediately the world itself in its entirety, with- 
out°excepting anything; thus all that is to be found in 
human consciousness ; it will be a complete recapitulation, 
as it were, a reflection, of the world in abstract concepts, 
which is only possible by the union of the essentially 
identical in one concept and the relegation of the different 
to another. This task was already prescribed to philosophy 
by Bacon of Verulam when he said : ea demum vera est 
philosophia, quae mundi ipsius wees fidelissime reddit, et 
veluti dictante mundo conscripta est, et nihil aliud est, 
quam ejusdem simulacrum et reflectio, neque addit quid- 
quam de proprio, sed tantum Herat et resonat (Be Augm. 
Scient., L. 2, c. 13). But we take this in a wider sense 
than Bacon could then conceive. 

The agreement which all the sides and parts of the 

world have with each other, just because they belong to 

a whole, must also be found in this abstract copy of it 

Therefore the judgments in this sum-total could to a 

certain extent be deduced from each other, and indeed 

always reciprocally so deduced. Yet to make the first 

judgment possible, they must all be present, and thus 

implied as prior to it in the knowledge of the world in 

the concrete, especially as all direct proof is more certain 

than indirect proof ; their harmony with each other by 

virtue of which they come together into the unity of one 

thought, and which arises from the harmony and unity of 

the world of perception itself, which is their common 

ground of knowledge, is not therefore to be made use 

of to establish them, as that which is prior to them, 


but is only added as a confirmation of their truth. 
This problem itself can only become quite clear in being 
solved. 1 

§ 1 6. After this full consideration of reason as a special 
faculty of knowledge belonging to man alone, and the 
results and phenomena peculiar to human nature brought 
about by it, it still remains for me to speak of reason, so 
far as it is the guide of human action, and in this respect 
may be called practical But what there is to say upon 
this point has found its place elsewhere in the appendix 
to this work, where I controvert the existence of the so- 
called practical reason of Kant, which he (certainly very 
conveniently) explained as the immediate source of virtue, 
and as the seat of an absolute (i.e., fallen from heaven) 
imperative. The detailed and thorough refutation of this 
Kantian principle of morality I have given later in the 
" Fundamental Problems of Ethics." There remains, 
therefore, but little for me to say here about the actual 
influence of reason, in the true sense of the word, upon 
action. At the commencement of our treatment of 
reason we remarked, in general terms, how much the 
action and behaviour of men differs from that of brutes, 
and that this difference is to be regarded as entirely due 
to the presence of abstract concepts in consciousness. 
The influence of these upon our whole existence is so 
penetrating and significant that, on account of them, we 
are related to the lower animals very much as those 
animals that see are related to those that have no eyes 
(certain larvae, worms, and zoophytes). Animals with- 
out eyes know only by touch what is immediately present 
to them in space, what comes into contact with them ; 
those which see, on the contrary, know a wide circle of 
near and distant objects. In the same way the absence 
of reason confines the lower animals to the ideas of per- 
ception, i.e., the real objects which are immediately pre- 
sent to them in time ; we, on the contrary, on account 

1 Ct Ch. 17 of Supplement 


of knowledge in the abstract, comprehend not only the 
narrow actual present, but also the whole past and 
future, and the wide sphere of the possible ; we view 
life freely on all its sides, and go far beyond the 
present and the actual. Thus what the eye is in space 
and for sensuous knowledge, reason is, to a certain 
extent, in time and for inner knowledge. But as the 
visibility of objects has its worth and meaning only in 
the fact that it informs us of their tangibility, so the 
whole. worth of abstract knowledge always consists in its 
relation to what is perceived. Therefore men naturally 
attach far more worth to immediate and perceived know- 
ledge than to abstract concepts, to that which is merely 
thought ; they place empirical knowledge before logical. 
But this is not the opinion of men who live more in 
words than in deeds, who have seen more on paper and 
in books than in actual life, and who in their greatest 
degeneracy become pedants and lovers of the mere letter. 
Thus only is it conceivable that Leibnitz and Wolf and 
all their successors could go so far astray as to explain 
knowledge of perception, after the example of Duns 
Scotus, as merely confused abstract knowledge ! To the 
honour of Spinoza, I must mention that his truer sense 
led him, on the contrary, to explain all general concepts 
as having arisen from the confusion of that which was 
known in perception (Eth. II., prop. 40, Schol. 1). 
It is also a result of perverted opinion that in mathe- 
matics the evidence proper to it was rejected, and 
logical evidence alone accepted; that everything in 
general which was not abstract knowledge was compre- 
hended under the wide name of feeling, and consequently 
was little valued; and lastly that the Kantian ethics 
regarded the good will which immediately asserts itself 
upon knowledge of the circumstances, and guides to 
right and good action as mere feeling and emotion, and 
consequently as worthless and without merit, and would 


only recognise actions which proceed from abstract 
maxims as having moral worth. 

The many-sided view of life as a whole which man, 
as distinguished from the lower animals, possesses through 
reason, may be compared to a geometrical, colourless, 
abstract, reduced plan of his actual life. He, therefore, 
stands to the lower animals as the navigator who, by 
means of chart, compass, and quadrant, knows accurately 
his course and his position at any time upon the sea, 
stands to the uneducated sailors who see only the waves 
and the heavens. Thus it is worth noticing, and indeed 
wonderful, how, besides his life in the concrete, man 
always lives another life in the abstract. In the former 
he is given as a prey to all the storms of actual life, and 
to the influence of the present; he must struggle, suffer, 
and die like the brute. But his life in the abstract, as 
it lies before his rational consciousness, is the still 
reflection of the former, and of the world in which he 
lives ; it is just that reduced chart or plan to which we 
have referred. Here in the sphere of quiet deliberation, 
what completely possessed him and moved him intensely 
before, appears to him cold, colourless, and for the 
moment external to him ; he is merely the spectator, the 
observer. In respect of this withdrawal into reflection 
he may be compared to an actor who has played his part 
in one scene, and who takes his place among the audience 
till it is time for him to go upon the stage again, and 
quietly looks on at whatever may happen, even though 
it be the preparation for his own death (in the piece), 
but afterwards he again goes on the stage and acts and 
suffers as he must. From this double life proceeds that 
quietness peculiar to human beings, so very different 
from the thoughtlessness of the brutes, and with which, 
in accordance with previous reflection, or a formed de- 
termination, or a recognised necessity, a man suffers or 
accomplishes in cold blood, what is of the utmost and 
often terrible importance to him ; suicide, execution, the 


duel, enterprises of every kind fraught with danger to life, 
and, in general, things against which his whole animal 
nature rebels. Under such circumstances we see to what 
an extent reason has mastered the animal nature, and we 
say to the strong : ai^rjpecop vv toi rjrop ! (ferreum certc 
tibi cor), II. 24, 521. Here we can say truly that reason 
manifests itself practically, and thus wherever action is 
guided by reason, where the motives are abstract concepts, 
wherever we are not determined by particular ideas of 
perception, nor by the impression of the moment which 
guides the brutes, there practical reason shows itself. But 
I have fully explained in the Appendix, and illustrated by 
examples, that this is entirely different from and unre- 
lated to the ethical worth of actions ; that rational action 
and virtuous action are two entirely different things ; that 
reason may just as well find itself in connection with 
great evil as with great good, and by its assistance may 
give great power to the one as well as to the other ; that 
it is equally ready and valuable for the methodical and 
consistent carrying out of the noble and of the bad in- 
tention, of the wise as of the foolish maxim ; which all 
results from the constitution of its nature, which is 
feminine, receptive, retentive, and not spontaneous; all 
this I have shown in detail in the Appendix, and illus- 
trated by examples. What is said there would have been 
placed here, but on account of my polemic against Kant's 
pretended practical reason I have been obliged to relegate 
it to the Appendix, to which I therefore refer. 

The ideal explained in the Stoical philosophy is the 
most complete development of practical reason in the true 
and genuine sense of the word ; it is the highest summit to 
which man can attain by the mere use of his reason, and 
in it his difference from the brutes shows itself most dis- 
tinctly. For the ethics of Stoicism are originally and 
essentially, not a doctrine of virtue, but merely a guide 
to a rational life, the end and aim of which is happiness 
through peace of mind. Virtuous conduct appears in it 

vol. 1. H 


as it were merely by accident, as the means, not as the 
end. Therefore the ethical theory of Stoicism is in its 
whole nature and point of view fundamentally different 
from the ethical systems which lay stress directly upon 
virtue, such as the doctrines of the Vedas, of Plato, of 
Christianity, and of Kant. The aim of Stoical ethics is 
happiness : reXo? to evhai fioveiv (virtutes omnes finem 
habere heatitudincm) it is called in the account of the Stoa 
by Stobasus (EcL, L. ii. c. 7, p. 114, and also p. 138). 
Yet the ethics of Stoicism teach that happiness can only 
be attained with certainty through inward peace and 
quietness of spirit (arapa^ia), and that this again can 
only be reached through virtue ; this is the whole mean- 
ing of the saying that virtue is the highest good. But if 
indeed by degrees the end is lost sight of in the means, 
and virtue is inculcated in a way which discloses an 
interest entirely different from that of one's own happi- 
ness, for it contradicts this too distinctly ; this is just one 
of those inconsistencies by means of which, in every 
system, the immediately known, or, as it is called, felt 
truth leads us back to the right way in defiance of 
syllogistic reasoning ; as, for example, we see clearly in the 
ethical teaching of Spinoza, which deduces a pure doctrine 
of virtue from the egoistical snum utile qucerere by means 
of palpable sophisms. According to this, as I conceive the 
spirit of the Stoical ethics, their source lies in the question 
whether the great prerogative of man, reason, which, by 
means of planned action and its results, relieves life and 
its burdens so much, might not also be capable of freeing 
him at once, directly, i.e., through mere knowledge, com- 
pletely, or nearly so, of the sorrows and miseries of every 
kind of which his life is full. They held that it was not in 
keeping with the prerogative of reason that the nature 
given with it, which by means of it comprehends and 
contemplates an infinity of things and circumstances, 
should yet, through the present, and the accidents that 
can be contained in the few years of a life that is short, 


fleeting, and uncertain, be exposed to such intense pain, 
to such great anxiety and suffering, as arise from the 
tempestuous strain of the desires and the antipathies; 
and they believed that the due application of reason 
must raise men above them, and can make them invul- 
nerable. Therefore Antisthenes says : Aa ktckjOcli vow, 
f) Ppo^ov (aut mentem parandam, aut laqueum. Plut. de 
stoic, repugn., c. 14), ie., life is so full of troubles and 
vexations, that one must either rise above it by means of 
corrected thoughts, or leave it. It was seen that want 
and suffering did not directly and of necessity spring 
from not having, but from desiring to have and not 
having ; that therefore this desire to have is the neces- 
sary condition under which alone it becomes a privation 
not to have and begets pain. Ov irevia \xrmp epya^erat, 
aXka €7ri,dvfjLi,a (non paupertas dolor em efficit, sed cupiditas), 
Epict., fragm. 25. Men learned also from experience that 
it is only the hope of what is claimed that begets and 
nourishes the wish ; therefore neither the many unavoid- 
able evils which are common to all, nor unattainable 
blessings, disquiet or trouble us, but only the trifling 
more or less of those things which we can avoid or attain ; 
indeed, not only what is absolutely unavoidable or un- 
attainable, but also what is merely relatively so, leaves 
us quite undisturbed; therefore the ills that have once 
become joined to our individuality, or the good things 
that must of necessity always be denied us, are treated 
with indifference, in accordance with the peculiarity of 
human nature that every wish soon dies and can no more 
beget pain if it is not nourished by hope. It followed 
from all this that happiness always depends upon the 
proportion between our claims and what we receive. It 
is all one whether the quantities thus related be great or 
small, and the proportion can be established just as well 
by diminishing the amount of the first as by increasing 
the amount of the second ; and in the same way it also 
follows that all suffering proceeds from the want of pro- 


portion between what we demand and expect and what 
we get. Now this want of proportion obviously lies 
only in knowledge, and it could be entirely abolished 
through fuller insight 1 Therefore Chrysippus says : Se* 
fyv kclt efiireipiav rcov 4>vaei (rvfi(3aivovr(ov (Stob. Eel., L. 
ii. c. 7, p. 134), that is, one ought to live with a due 
knowledge of the transitory nature of the things of the 
world. °For as often as a man loses self-command, or is 
struck down by a misfortune, or grows angry, or becomes 
faint-hearted, he shows that he finds things different from 
what he expected, consequently that he was caught in 
error, and did not know the world and life, did not know 
that the will of the individual is crossed at every step by 
the chance of inanimate nature and the antagonism of 
aims and the wickedness of other individuals: he has 
therefore either not made use of his reason in order to 
arrive at a general knowledge of this characteristic of 
life, or he lacks judgment, in that he does not recognise 
in the particular what he knows in general, and is 
therefore surprised by it and loses his self-command. 
Thus also every keen pleasure is an error and an illusion, 
for no attained wish can give lasting satisfaction; and, 
moveover, every possession and every happiness is but 
lent by chance for an uncertain time, and may therefore 
be demanded back the next hour. All pain rests on the 
passing away of such an illusion ; thus both arise from 
defective knowledge ; the wise man therefore holds him- 
self equally aloof from joy and sorrow, and no event 
disturbs his arapa&a- 

In accordance with this spirit and aim of the Stoa, 
Epictetus began and ended with the doctrine as the kernel 

1 Omnes perturbationes judicio avOpuron xavr^v twv jtaKW*, to rat 

censent fieri et opinione. Cic. */>o\#cts ras /cotvas w Swacrflai 

Tusc 4 6 Tapaffffei tovs avOpwtcovs e<papfio^iv tcus eiri pepovs t±lffiO 

ou'ra'^Ta, oXXa ra repc rwv est causa mortalibus omnium ma- 

xpayuarJ tory/iara (Perturbant lorum, non pc.sse communes notionei 

homines non res ipsa, sed de rebus nptarc singulanbus). Lpict. dissert., 

opiniones). Epictet., c. v. ii., 26. 

- Toirro yap e<m to axriov rots 


of his philosophy, that we should consider well and dis- 
tinguish what depends upon us and what does not, and 
therefore entirely avoid counting upon the latter, whereby 
we shall certainly remain free from all pain, sorrow, and 
anxiety. But that which alone is dependent upon us is 
the will ; and here a transition gradually takes place to 
a doctrine of virtue, for it is observed that as the outer 
world, which is independent of us, determines good and 
bad fortune, so inner contentment with ourselves, or the 
absence of it, proceeds from the will. But it was then 
asked whether we ought to apply the words honum and 
malum to the two former or to the two latter ? This was 
indeed arbitrary and a matter of choice, and did not 
make any real difference, but yet the Stoics disputed 
everlastingly with the Peripatetics and Epicureans about 
it, and amused themselves with the inadmissible com- 
parison of two entirely incommensurable quantities, and 
the antithetical, paradoxical judgments which proceeded 
from them, and which they flung at each other. The 
Paradoxa of Cicero afford us an interesting collection of 
these from the Stoical side. 

Zeno, the founder, seems originally to have followed a 
somewhat different path. The starting-point with him 
was that for the attainment of the highest good, i.e., 
blessedness and spiritual peace, one must live in harmony 
with oneself (o/jbokoyovfievax; gyw tovto Wean /caff eva 
\oyov Kai crvfKpwvov tyv. — Consonanter vivere : hoc est 
secundum, unam rationem et concordem sibi vivere. Stob. 
Eel. eth. L. ii, c 7, p. 132. Also: Aperrjv hiaQeaiv eivai 
tyvyrfi avfJL<f>G)vov eavrrj irepi oKov tov fiiov. Virtutem 
esse animi affectionem secum per totam vitam consentientem, 
ibid., p. 104.) Now this was only possible for a man if 
he determined himself entirely rationally, according to 
concepts, not according to changing impressions and 
moods ; since, however, only the maxims of our conduct, 
not the consequences nor the outward circumstances, are 
in our power, in order to be always consistent we must set 


before us as our aim only the maxims and not the con- 
sequences and circumstances, and thus again a doctrine 
of virtue is introduced. 

But the ethical principle of Zeno — to live in harmony 
with oneself — appeared even to his immediate successors 
to be too formal and empty. They therefore gave it 
material content by the addition — " to live in harmony 
with nature " (ofjuokoyovfievcos ttj (pvcrei tyv), which, as 
Stobaeus mentions in another place, was lirst added by 
Kleanthes, and extended the matter very much on account 
of the wide sphere of the concept and the vagueness of 
the expression. For Kleanthes meant the whole of 
nature in general, while Chrysippus meant human nature 
in particular (Diog. Laert., 7, 89). It followed that 
what alone was adapted to the latter was virtue, just as 
the satisfaction of animal desires was adapted to animal 
natures ; and thus ethics had again to be forcibly united 
to a doctrine of virtue, and in some way or other estab- 
lished through physics. For the Stoics always aimed at 
unity of principle, as for them God and the world were 
not dissevered. 

The ethical system of Stoicism, regarded as a whole, is 
in fact a very valuable and estimable attempt to use the 
great prerogative of man, reason, for an important and 
salutary end ; to raise him above the suffering and pain 
to which all life is exposed, by means of a maxim — 

" Qva ratione queas traducere leniter cevum : 
Ne te semper inops agitet vexetque cvjrido, 
Ne pavor et rerum mediocriter utilium spes" 

and thus to make him partake, in the highest degree, of 
the dignity which belongs to him as a rational being, 
as distinguished from the brutes ; a dignity of winch, 
in this sense at any rate, we can speak, though not 
in any other. It is a consequence of my view of the 
ethical system of Stoicism that it must be explained 
at the part of my work at which I consider what 


reason is and what it can do. But although it may to 
a certain extent be possible to attain that end through 
the application of reason, and through a purely rational 
system of ethics, and although experience shows that the 
happiest men are those purely rational characters com- 
monly called practical philosophers, — and rightly so, be- 
cause just as the true, that is, the theoretical philospher 
carries life into the concept, they carry the concept into 
life, — yet it is far from the case that perfection can be 
I attained in this way, and that the reason, rightly used, 
can really free us from the burden and sorrow of life, and 
lead us to happiness. Eather, there lies an absolute con- 
tradiction in wishing to live without suffering, and this 
contradiction is also implied in the commonly used ex- 
pression, " blessed life." This will become perfectly clear 
to whoever comprehends the whole of the following expo- 
sition. In this purely rational system of ethics the con- 
tradiction reveals itself thus, the Stoic is obliged in his 
doctrine of the way to the blessed life (for that is what his 
ethical system always remains) to insert a recommenda- 
tion of suicide (as among the magnificent ornaments and 
apparel of Eastern despots there is always a costly vial 
of poison) for the case in which the sufferings of the body, 
which cannot be philosophised away by any principles or 
syllogistic reasonings, are paramount and incurable ; thus 
its one aim, blessedness, is rendered vain, and nothing 
remains as a mode of escape from suffering except death ; 
in such a case then death must be voluntarily accepted, 
just as we would take any other medicine. Here then a 
marked antagonism is brought out between the ethical 
system of Stoicism and all those systems referred to above 
which make virtue in itself directly, and accompanied by 
the most grievous sorrows, their aim, and will not allow 
a man to end his life in order to escape from suffering. 
Not one of them, however, was able to give the true 
reason for the rejection of suicide, but they laboriously 
collected illusory explanations from all sides : the true 


reason will appear in the Fourth Book in the course of the 
development of our system. But the antagonism referred 
to reveals and establishes the essential difference in funda- 
mental principle between Stoicism, which is just a special 
form of endaemonism, and those doctrines we have men- 
tioned, although both are often at one in their results, 
and are apparently related. And the inner contradiction 
referred to above, with which the ethical system of 
Stoicism is affected even in its fundamental thought, 
shows itself further in the circumstance that its ideal, 
the Stoic philosopher, as the system itself represents him, 
could never obtain life or inner poetic truth, but remains 
a wooden, stiff lay-figure of which nothing can be made. 
He cannot himself make use of his wisdom, and his 
perfect peace, contentment, and blessedness directly con- 
tradict the nature of man, and preclude us from forming 
any concrete idea of him. When compared with him, how 
entirely different appear the overcomers of the world, and 
voluntary hermits that Indian philosophy presents to us, 
and has actually produced ; or indeed, the holy man of 
Christianity, that excellent form full of deep life, of the 
greatest poetic truth, and the highest significance, which 
stands before us in perfect virtue, holiness, and sublimity, 
yet in a state of supreme suffering. 1 

1 Cf. Ch. 1 6 of Supplement. 




Nos habitat, non tartara, sed nee sidera coeli » 
Spiritus, in nobis qui viyet, ilia facit. 

( I2 3 ) 

§ 17. In the first book we considered the idea 
merely as such, that is, only according to its general 
form. It is true that as far as the abstract idea, the 
concept, is concerned, we obtained a knowledge of it in 
'respect of its content also, because it has content and 
meaning only in relation to the idea of perception, with- 
out which it would hftjaww4h]p f ss and emjQty. Accordingly, 
directing our attention exclusively to the idea of per- 

ception, we shall now endeavour to arrive at a knowledge 
of its content, its more exact definition, and the forms 
which it presents to us. And it will specially interest 
us to find an explanation of its peculiar significance, 
that significance which is otherwise merely felt, but on 
account of which it is that these pictures do not pass by 
us entirely strange and meaningless, as they must other- 

*» wise do, but speak to us directly, are understood, and 
obtain an interest which concerns our whole nature. 

We direct our attention to mathematics, natural 
science, and philosophy, for each of these holds out the 
hope that it will afford us a part of the explanation we 
desire. Now, taking philosophy first, we find that it is 
like a monster with many heads, each of which speaks a 
different language. They are not, indeed, all at variance 
on the point we are here considering, the significance of 

• the idea of perception. For, with the exception of the 
Sceptics and the Idealists, the others, for the most part, speak 

^ very much in the same way of an object which constitutes 
the basis of the idea, and which is indeed different in its 
whole being and nature from the idea, but yet is in all 



points as like it as one egg is to another. But^this does 
not help us, for we are quite unable to distinguish such 
an object from the idea ; we find that they are one and 
the same ; for every object always and for ever presup- 
poses a subject, and therefore remains idea, so that we 
recognised objectivity as belonging to the most universal 
form of the idea, which is the division into subject and 
object. Further, the principle of sufficient reason, which 
is referred to in support of this doctrine, is for us merely 
the form of the idea, the orderly combination of one idea 
with another, but not the combination of the whole finite 
or infinite series of ideas with something which is not 
idea at all, and which cannot therefore be presented in 
perception. Of the Sceptics and Idealists we spoke 
above, in examining the controversy about the reality of 
the outer world. 

If we turn to mathematics to look for the fuller 
knowledge we desire of the idea of perception, which we 
have, as yet, only understood generally, merely in its 
form, we find that mathematics only treats of these 
ideas so far as they fill time and space, that is, so 
far as they are quantities. It will tell us with the 
greatest accuracy the how-many and the how-much; 
but as this is always merely relative, that is to say, 
merely a comparison of one idea with others, and a com- 
parison only in the one respect of quantity, this also is 
not the information we are principally in search of. 

Lastly, if we turn to the wide province of natural 
science, which is divided into many fields, we may, in the 
first place, make a general division of it into two parts. 
It is either the description of forms, which I call Mor- 
phology, or the explanation of changes, which I call 
Etiology. The first treats of the permanent forms, the 
second of the changing matter, according to the laws of 
its transition from one form to another. The first is 
the whole extent of what is generally called natural 
history. It teaches us, especially in the sciences of 


botany and zoology, the various permanent, organised, 
and therefore definitely determined forms in the constant 
change of individuals ; and these forms constitute a great 
part of the content of the idea of perception. In natural 
history they are classified, separated, united, arranged 
according to natural and artificial systems, and brought 
under concepts which make a general view and know- 
ledge of the whole of them possible. Further, an 
infinitely fine analogy both in the whole and in the 
parts of these forms, and running through them all 
{unite de plan), is established, and thus they may be com- 
pared to innumerable variations on a theme which is not 
given. The passage of matter into these forms, that is to 
say, the origin of individuals, is not a special part of 
natural science, for every individual springs from its like 
by generation, which is everywhere equally mysterious, 
and has as yet evaded definite knowledge. The little that 
is known on the subject finds its place in physiology, 
which belongs to that part of natural science I have called 
etiology. Mineralogy also, especially where it becomes 
geology, inclines towards etiology, though it principally 
belongs to morphology. Etiology proper comprehends all 
those branches of natural science in which the chief con- 
cern is the knowledge of cause and eilect. The sciences 
teach how, according to an invariable rule, one condition 
of matter is necessarily followed by a certain other condi- 
tion ; how one change necessarily conditions and brings 
about a certain other change ; this sort of teaching is called 
explanation. The principal sciences in this department 
are mechanics, physics, chemistry, and physiology. 

If, however, we surrender ourselves to its teaching, we 
soon become convinced that etiology cannot afford us the 
information we chiefly desire, any more than morphology. 
The latter presents to us innumerable and infinitely 
varied forms, which are yet related by an unmistakable 
family likeness. These are for us ideas, and when only 
treated in this way, they remain always strange to us. 

126 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. ii. 

and stand before us like hieroglyphics which we do not 
understand. Etiology, on the other hand, teaches us that, 
according to the law of cause and effect, this particular 
condition of matter brings about that other particular 
condition, and thus it has explained it and performed its 
part. However, it really does nothing more than indi- 
cate the orderly arrangement according to which the 
states of matter appear in space and time, and teach in 
all cases what phenomenon must necessarily appear at a 
particular time in a particular place. It thus determines 
the position of phenomena in time and space, according 
to a law whose special content is derived from experience, 
but whose universal form and necessity is yet known to 
us independently of experience. But i t affords us abso- 
lutely no information about the inner nature of any one 
of these phenomena : this is called a force of nature, and 
it lies outside the province of causal explanation, winch 
calls the constant uniformity with which manifestations 
of such a force appear whenever their known conditions 
are present, a law of nature. But this law of nature, 
these conditions, and this appearance in a particular 
place at a particular time, are all that it knows or ever 
can know. The force itself which manifests itself, the 
inner nature of the phenomena which appear in accord- 
ance with these laws, remains always a secret to it, 
something entirely strange and unknown in the case of 
the simplest as well as of the most complex phenomena. 
For although as yet etiology has most completely 
achieved its aim in mechanics, and least completely in 
physiology, still the force on account of which a stone 
falls to the ground or one body repels another is, in its 
inner nature, not less strange and mysterious than that 
which produces the movements and the growth of an 
animal. The science of mechanics presupposes matter, 
weight, impenetrability, the possibility of communicating 
motion by impact, inertia and so forth as ultimate facts, 
calls them forces of nature, and their necessary and 


orderly appearance under certain conditions a law of 
nature. Only after this does its explanation begin, and 
it consists in indicating truly and with mathematical 
exactness, how, where and when each force manifests 
itself, and in referring every phenomenon which presents 
itself to the operation of one of these forces. Physics, 
chemistry, and physiology proceed in the same way in 
their province, only they presuppose more and accom- 
plish less. Consequently the most complete etiological # 
explanation oftne whole of nature can never be more 
than an enumeration of forces which cannot be explained, 
and a reliable statement of the rule according to which 
phenomena appear in time and space, succeed, and make 
way for each other. But the inner nature of the forces 
which thus appear remains unexplained by such an ex- 
planation, which must confine itself to phenomena and 
their arrangement, because the law which it follows does 
not extend further. In this respect it may be compared 
to a section of a piece of marble which shows many veins 
beside each other, but does not allow us to trace the 
course of the veins from the interior of the marble to its 
oirrface. Or, if I may use an absurd but more striking* i 
comparison, the philosophical investigator must always I 
have the same feeling towards the complete etiology of 
the whole of nature, as a man who, without knowing how, 
has been brought into a company quite unknown to him, j 
each member of which in turn presents another to him 
as his friend and cousin, and therefore as quite well 
known, and yet the man himself, while at each intro- 
duction he expresses himself gratified, has always the 
question on his lips : " But how the deuce do I stand to 
the whole company ?" 

Thus we see that, with regard to those phenomena 
which we know only as our ideas, etiology can never 
give us the desired information that shall carry us be- 
yond this point. For, after all its explanations, they still 
remain quite strange to us, as mere ideas whose signifi- 

I2 8 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. ii. 

cance we do not understand. The causal connection 
merely gives us the rule and the relative order of their 
' appearance in space and time, but affords us no further 
knowledge of that which so appears. Moreover, the law 
of causality itself has only validity for ideas, for objects 
of a definite class, and it has meaning only in so far as it 
presupposes them. Thus, like these objects themselves, 
it always exists only in relation to a subject, that is, con- 
ditionally ; and so it is known just as well if we 
start from the subject, i.e., a priori, as if we start from 
the object, i.e., a posteriori. Kant indeed has taught us 

But what now impels us to inquiry is just that we are 
not satisfied with knowing that we have ideas, that they 
are such and such, and that they are connected according 
to certain laws, the general expression of which is the 
principle of sufficient reason. We wish to know the 
• significance of these ideas ; we ask whether this world is 
merely idea ; in which case it would pass by us like an 
empty dream or a baseless vision, not worth our notice ; 
or whether it is also something else, something more than 
idea, and if so, what Thus much is certain, that this 
^ something we seek for must be completely and in its 
whole nature different from the idea ; that the forms and 
laws of the idea must therefore be completely foreign to 
it; further, that we cannot arrive at it from the idea 
under the guidance of the laws which merely combine 
objects, ideas, among themselves, and which are the forms 
of the principle of sufficient reason. 

Thus we see already that we can never arrive at the 
. real nature of things from without. However much we 
investigate, we can never reach anything but images and 
names. We are like a man who goes round a castle 
seeking in vain for an entrance, and sometimes sketcliing 
the facades. And yet this is the method that has been 
followed by all philosophers before me. 
r S 1 8. In fact, the meaning for which we seek of that 


world which is present to us only as our idea, or the 
transition from the world as mere idea of the knowing 
subject to whatever it may be besides this, would never be 
found if the investigator himself were nothing more than 
the pure knowing subject (a winged cherub without a 
body). But he is himself rooted in that world ; he finds 
himself in it as an individual, that is to say, his know- 
ledge, which is the necessary supporter of the whole 
world as idea, is yet always given through the medium of 
a body, whose affections are, as we have shown, the start- 
9 ing-point for the understanding in the perception of that 
worldJ^His body is, for the pure knowing subject, an 

• idea Cke every other idea, an object among objects. Its 
movements and actions are so far known to him in pre- 

\ cisely the same way as the changes of all other perceived 
objects, and would be just as strange and incompre- 
hensible to him if their meaning were not explained^ f or 
him in., an entirely different way. Otherwise he would 
see his actions follow upon given motives with the con- 
stancy of a law of nature, just as the changes of other 
objects follow upon causes, stimuli, or motives. But he 
would not understand the influence of the motives any 
more than the connection between every other effect 
which he sees and its cause. He would then call the 
inner nature of these manifestations and actions of his 

# body which he did not understand a force, a quality, or 
a character, as he pleased, but he would have no further 
insight into it. But all this is not the case ; indeed^the 
answer to the ricTale is given to the subject of know- 

f ledge who appears as an individual, and the answer is 
will. This and this alone gives him the key to his own 

» existence, reveals to him the significance, shows him the 
inner mechanism of his being, of his action, of his move- 
ments. The body is given in two entirely different ways 

^to the subject of knowledge, who becomes an individual 
only through his identity with it. It is given as an idea • 
in intelligent perception, as an object among objects and 
vol. 1. 1 




subject to the laws of objects. And it is also given in 

* quite a different way as that which is immediately known 
to every one, and is signified by the word will. J Every 
true act of his will is also at once and without 

* exception a movement of his body. The act of will and 
the movement of the body are not two different things 
objectively known, which the bond of causality unites; 
they do not stand in the relation of cause and effect; 
they are one and the same, but they are given in 

*' entirely different ways^unmediately, and again in 
perception for the understanding. Inaction of the 

, body is nothing but the act of the wit objectified, i.e., 
passed into perception. It will appear later that this is 
true of every movement of the body, i.ot merely those 

• which follow upon motives, but also involuntary move- 
ments which follow upon mere stimuli,>^nd, indeed, that 

x the whole body is nothing but objectified will, i.e., will 
become idea. All this will be proved and made quite 
clear in the course of this work. In one respect, there- 
fore, I shall call the body the objectivity of will ; as in 
the previous book, and in the essay on the principle of 
sufficient reason, in accordance with the one-sided point 
of view intentionally adopted there (that of the idea), I 
called it the immediate object. Thus in a certain sense 

j we may also say that will is the knowledge a priori of 
the body, and the body is the knowledge a posteriori of 
the will. Resolutions of the will which relate to the 
future are merely deliberations of the reason about what 
we shall will at a particular time, not real acts of wilL 

y Only the carrying out of the resolve stamps it as will, for 
till then it is never more than an intention that may be 
changed, and that exists only in the reason in abstracto. 
It is only in reflection that to will and to act are different ; 
in reality they are one. Every true, genuine, immediate 

. act of will is also, at once and immediately, a visible act 
of the body. And, corresponding to this, every inipres- 

• sion upon the body is also, on the other hand, at once 



and immediately an impression upon the will. As such 
I it is called pain when it is opposed to the will ; gratifi- , 
cation or pleasure when it is in accordance with it. The 
degrees of both are widely different. It is quite wrong, ~ 
r however, to call pain and pleasure ideas, for they are by 
} no means ideas, but immediate affections of the will in *) 
I its manifestation, the body ; compulsory, instantaneous 
I willing or not-willing of the impression which the body 
tustains. There are only a few impressions of the body , 
which do not touch the will, and it is through these alone * 
that the body is an immediate object of knowledge, for, 
as perceived by the understanding, it is already an indi- 
rect object like aU others. These impressions are, there- 
fore, to be treated directly as mere ideas, and excepted 
from what has been said. The impressions we refer to 
are the affections of the purely objective senses of sight, 
hearing, and touch, though only so far as these organs^are" 
affected in the way which is specially peculiar to their 
specific nature. This affection of them is so excessively 
weak an excitement of the heightened and specifically 
modified sensibility of these parts that it does not affect 
the will, but only furnishes the understanding with the 
data out of which the perception arises, undisturbed by 
any excitement of the will But every stronger or diffe- 
rent kind of affection of these organs of sense is painful, 
that is to say, against the will, and thus they also belong * 
to its objectivity. Weakness of the nerves shows itself 
in this, that the impressions which have only such a 
degree of strength as would usually be sufficient to make 
them data for the understanding reach the higher degree 
at which they influence the will, that is to say, give pain 
or pleasure, though more often pain, which is, however, 
to some extent deadened and inarticulate, so that not only 
particular tones and strong light are painful to us, but 
there ensues a generally unhealthy and hypochondriacal 
disposition which is not distinctly understood. The 
identity of the bodv and the will shows itself further ' 


among other ways, in the circumstance that every vehe- 
% ment and excessive movement of the will, Le. t every 
emotion, agitates the body and its inner constitution 
directly and disturbs the course of its vital functions. 
This is shown in detail in " Will in Nature," p. 27 of the 
second edition and p. 28 of the third. 

Lastly, the knowledge which I have of my will, though 
. it iTunmediate, cannot be separated from that which I 
have of my body. P f know my will, not as a whole, not 
as a unity, not completely, according to its nature, but I 
k know it only in its particular acts, and therefore in time, 
• which is the form of the phenomenal aspect of my body, 
/ as of every object^ Therefore the body is a condition of 
• the knowledge of my will. Thus, I cannot really imagine 
this will apart from my body.j In the essay on the 
principle of sufficient reason, the will, or rather the sub- 
ject of willing, is treated as a special class of ideas or 
objects. But even there we saw this object become one 
with the subject; that is, we saw it cease to be an 
object. We there called this union the miracle ko,t 
ePoyvv, and the whole of the present work is to a certain 
extent an explanation of this. So far as I know my 
will specially as 'object, I know it as body. But then I 
am aoain at the first class of ideas laid down m that 
essay,° ie., real objects. As we proceed we shall see 
always more clearly that these ideas of the first class 
obtain their explanation and solution from those of the 
fourth class given in the essay, which could no longer be 
properly opposed to the subject as object, and that, there- 
fore we must learn to understand the inner nature of the 
law'of causality which is valid in the first class, and of 
all that happens in accordance with it from the law of 
motivation which governs the fourth class. 

The identity of the will and the body, of which we 
have now given a cursory explanation, can only be proved in 
the manner we have adopted here. We have proved 
this identity for the first time, and shall do so more and 


more fully in the course of this work. Bv_ " proved " 
we mean raised from the immediate consciousness, from 
knowledge in the concrete to abstract knowledge of the 
reason, or carried over into abstract knowledge. On the 
ofcher hand, from its very nature it can never be demon- 
strated, that is, deduced as indirect knowledge from some 
other more direct knowledge, just because it is itself the 
most direct knowledge; and if we do not apprehend it and 
stick to it as such, we shall expect in vain to receive it 
again in some indirect way as derivative knowledge. It 
is knowledge of quite a special kind, whose truth cannot 
therefore properly be brought under any of the four 
rubrics under which I have classified all truth in the 
essay on the principle of sufficient reason, § 29, the 
logical, the empirical, the metaphysical, and the meta- 
logical, for it is not, like all these, the relation of an 
abstract idea to another idea, or to the necessary form 
of perceptive or of abstract ideation, but it is the relation, 
of a judgment to the connection which an idea of per- 
ception, the body, has to that which is not an idea at 
all, but something toto genere different, will. I should 
like therefore to distinguish this from all other truth, 
and call it kclt e^o^W philosophical truth. We can 
turn the expression of this truth in different ways and 
say : My body and my will are one ; — or, What as an idea 
of perception I call my body, I call my will, so far as I am 
conscious of it in an entirely different way which cannot 
be compared to any other ; — or, My body is the objectivity 
of my will ; — or, My body considered apart from the fact 
that it is my idea is still my will, and so forth. 1 

§ 1 9. In the first book we were reluctantly driven to 
explain the human body as merely idea of the subject 
which knows it, like all the other objects of this world 
of perception. But it has now become clear that what 
enables us consciously to distinguish our own body from 
all other objects which in other respects are precisely the 

1 Cf. Ch. xviii. of the Supplement. 


same, is that our body appears in consciousness in quite 
another way toto generc different from idea, and this we 
denote by the word will ; and that it is just this double 
knowledge which we have of our own body that affords 
us information about it, about its action and movement 
following on motives, and also about what it experiences 
by means of external impressions ; in a word, about what 
it is, not as idea, but as more than idea ; that is to say, 
what it is in itself. None of this information have we 
got directly with regard to the nature, action, and ex- 
perience of other real objects. 

It is just because of this special relation to one body 
that the knowing subject is an individual. For regarded 
apart from this relation, his body is for him only an idea 
like all other ideas. But the relation through which the 
knowing subject is an individual, is just on that account, 
a relation which subsists only between him and one par- 
ticular idea of all those which he has. Therefore he is 
conscious of this one idea, not merely as an idea, but in 
quite a different way as a will. If, however, he abstracts 
from that special relation, from that twofold and com- 
pletely heterogeneous knowledge of what is one and the 
same, then that one, the body, is an idea like all other 
ideas. Therefore, in order to understand the matter, the 
individual who knows must either assume that what 
distinguishes that one idea from others is merely the 
fact that his knowledge stands in this double relation to it 
alone ; that insight in two ways at the same time is open 
to him only in the case of this one object of perception, 
and that this is to be explained not by the difference of this 
object from all others, but only by the difference between 
the relation of liis knowledge to this one object, and its re- 
lation to all other objects. Or else he must assume that 
this object is essentially different from all others ; that it 
alone of all objects is at once both will and idea, while 
the rest are only ideas, i.e., only phantoms. Thus he 
must assume that lus body is the only real individual in 

/ oj 


fche world, i.e., the only phenomenon of will and the only 
immediate object of the subject. That other objects, 
considered merely as ideas, are like his body, that is, like 
it, fill space (which itself can only be present as idea), 
and also, like it, are causally active in space, is indeed 
demonstrably certain from the law of causality which is 
a priori valid for ideas, and which admits of no effect 
without a cause ; but apart from the fact that we can 
only reason from an effect to a cause generally, and not 
to a similar cause, we are still in the sphere of mere 
ideas, in which alone the law of causality . is., valid, and 
beyond which it can never take us. Bute whether the 
objects known to the individual only as ideas are yet, 
like his own body, manifestations of a will, is, as way 
said in the First Book, the proper meaning of the question 
as to the reality of the external world. To deny this is 
theoretical egoism, which on that account regards all 
phenomena that are outside its own will as phantoms, just 
as in a practical reference exactly the same thing is done 
by practical egoism. For in it a man regards and treats 
himself alone as a person, and all other persons as mere 
phantoms. Theoretical egoism can never be demon- 
strably refuted, yet in philosophy it has never been used 
otherwise than as a sceptical sophism, i.e., a pretence. 
As a serious conviction, on the other hand, it could only 
e found in a madhouse, and as such it stands in need 
of a cure rather than a refutation. We do not therefore 
combat it any . further in this regard, but treat it as 
merely the last stronghold of scepticism, which is always 
polemical. Thus our knowledge, which is always bound 
to mdividuaGEy^and is limited by this circumstance, 
brings with it the necessity that each of us can only he 
one, while, on the other hand, each of us can know all ; 
and it is this limitation that creates the need for philo- 
sophy. We therefore who, for this very reason, are striving 
to extend the limits of our knowledge through philosophy, 
will treat this sceptical argument of theoretical egoism 

136 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. U. 

which meets us, as an army would treat a small frontier 
fortress. The fortress cannot indeed be taken, but the 
garrison can never sally forth from it, and therefore we 
pass it by without danger, and are not afraid to have it 
in our rear. 

The double knowledge which each of us has of the 
nature and activity of his own body, and which is given 
in two completely different ways, has now been clearly 
brought out 'VVe^sJiall accordingly make further use of 
it as ajgey to the nature of every phenomenon in nature, 
and shall judge of all objects which are not our own 
bodies, and are consequently not given to our conscious- 

v ness in a double way but only as ideas, according to the 
analogy of our own bodies, and shall therefore assume 
that as in one aspect they are idea, just like our bodies, 
and in this respect are analogous to them, so in another 
aspect, what remains of objects when we set aside their 
, existence as idea of the subject, must in its inner nature 
be the same as that in us winch we call will. For what 
other kind of existence or reality should we attribute to 
the rest of the material world ? Whence should we take 
the elements out of which we construct such a world ? 
I Besides will and idea nothing is known to us or thinkable. 
If we wish to attribute the greatest known reality to the 
material world which exists immediately only in our 
idea, we give it the reality which our own body has for 
each of us ; for that is the most real thing for every one. < 
But if we now analyse the reality of this body and its 
actions, beyond the fact that it is idea, we find nothing 
in it except the will ; with tins its reality is exhausted. * 
Therefore we can nowhere find another kind of reality 
which we can attribute to the material world. Thus if 
we hold that the material world is something more than 
merely our idea, we must say that besides being idea, that 
is, in itself and according to its inmost nature, it is that 

* which we find immediately in ourselves as will. 1 say 
according to its inmost nature; but we must first come 


to know more accurately this real nature of the will, in 
order that we may be able to distinguish from it what 
does not belong to itself, but to its manifestation, which 
has many grades. Such, for example, is the circum- 
stance of its being accompanied by knowledge, and the 
determination by motives which is conditioned by this 
knowledge. As we shall see farther on, this does not 
belong to the real nature of will, but merely to its dis- 
tinct manifestation as an animal or a human being. If, 
therefore I say, — the force which attracts a stone to the 
earth is according to its nature, in itself, and apart from 
all idea, will, I shall not be supposed to express in this 
proposition the insane opinion that the stone moves itself 
in accordance with a known motive, merely because this 
is the way in which will appears in man. 1 We shall 
now proceed more clearly and in detail to prove, estab- 
lish, and develop to its full extent what as yet has only 
been provisionally and generally explained. 2 

§ 20. As we have said, the will proclaims itself primarily 
in the voluntary movements of our own body, as the 
inmost nature of this body, as that which it is besides 
being object of perception, idea. For these voluntary 
movements are nothing else than the visible aspect of the 
"individual acts of will, with which they are directly coin- 
cident and identical, and only distinguished through the 
form of knowledge into which they have passed, and in 
which alone they can be known, the form of idea. 

But these acts of will have always a ground or reason 
I outside themselves i n^ motives . Yet these motives never 
* determine more than what I will at this time, in this 

1 We can thus by no means agree Planeta Martis, that the planets 

with Bacon if he (DeAugm. Scient., must have knowledge in order to 

L. iv. in fine.) thinks that all me- keep their elliptical courses so cor- 

chanical and physical movement of rectly, and to regulate the velocity 

bodies has always been preceded of their motion so that the triangle 

by perception in these bodies; though of the plane of their course always 

a glimmering of truth lies at the remains proportional to the time in 

bottom of this false proposition, which they pass through its base. 

This is also the case with Kepler's 2 Cf . Ch. xix. of the Supplement, 
opinion, expressed in his essay De 


place, and under these circumstances, not that I will in 
general, or what I will in general, that is, the maxims 
which characterise my volition generally. Therefore the 
inner nature of my volition cannot bejsxplained from ihesa- 
motives ; but they merely determine its manifestation at 
a given point of time : they are merely the occasion of 
my will showing itself ; but the will itself lies outside 
the province of the law of motivation, which determines 
nothing but its appearance at each point of time, /it is 
only under the presupposition of my empirical character 
that the motive is a sufficient ground of explanation of 
my action. But if I abstract from my character, and 
then ask, wky,~m general, I will this and not that, no 
answer is possible, because it is only, thajaanifestation of 
the will that is subject to the principle, of sufficient- 
reason, and not the will itself, which in this respect is to 
be called groundless. // At this point I presuppose Kant's 
doctrine of the empirical and intelligible character, and 
also my own treatment of the subject in " The Funda- 
mental Problems of Ethics," pp. 48, 58, and 178, et seq. t 
of first edition (p. 174, et seq., of second edition). I 
shall also have to speak more fully on the question in 
the Fourth Book. For the present, I have only to draw 
attention to this, that the fact of one manifestation being 
established through another, as here the deed through the 
motive, does not at all conflict with the fact that its real 
nature is will, winch itself has no ground ; for as the 
principle of sufficient reason in all its aspects is only the 
form of knowledge, its validity extends only to the idea, 
to the phenomena, to the visibility of the will, but not to 
the will itself, winch becomes visible. 

4f jiow every action of my body is the manifestation of 
an act of will in which my will itself in general, and as 
a whole, thus my character, expresses itself under given 
motives, manifestation of the will must be the inevitable 
condition and presupposition of every action. For the 
fact of its manifestation cannot depend upon something 


which does not exist directly and only through it, which 
consequently is for it merely accidental, and through 
which its manifestation itself would be merely accidental. 
Now that condition is just the whole body itself. Thus ; 
the body itself must be manifestation of the will, and it • 
must be related to my will as a whole, that is, to my 
intelligible character, whose phenomenal appearance in 
time is my empirical character, as the particular action 
of the body is related to the particular act of the 
will. The whole body, then, must be simply my will 
become visible, must be my will itself, so far as this is 
object of perception, an idea of the first class^ It has 
already been advanced in confirmation^ of this that every 
impression upon my body also affects my will at once 
and immediately, and in this respect is called pain or 
pleasure, or, in its lower degrees, agreeable or disagree- 
able sensation ; and also, conversely, that every violent 
movement of the will, every emotion or passion, convulses 
the body and disturbs the course of its functions^ Indeed 
we can also give an etiological account, though a very 
incomplete one, of the origin of my body, and a some- 
what better account of its development and conservation, 
and this is the substance of physiology. But physiology 
merely explains its theme in precisely the same way as 
motives explain action. Thus the physiological explana- 
tion of the functions of the body detracts just as little 
from the philosophical truth that the whole existence of 
% thisJjody^ and ^ the .jumJ^aJ^pjLi^ . luoiSonillarZImSelJ-.. 
t}ij^ objectificatio^ which appears~4a it* 

oju^ward^jictions in . jLCCordance with. a.mQtive, as the 
establishment of the individual action through the motive 
and the necessary sequence of the action from the motive 
conflicts with the fact that action in general, and accord- 
ing to its nature, is only the manifestation of a will which 
itself has no ground. If, however, physiology tries to 
refer even these outward actions, the immediate voluntary 
movements, to causes in the organism, — for example, if it 


explains the movement of the muscles as resulting from 
the presence of fluids (" like the contraction of a cord 
when it is wet," says Reil in his " Archiv fur Physio- 
logic," vol. vi. p. 153), even supposing it really could 
give a thorough explanation of this kind, yet this would 
never invalidate the immediately certain truth that; RYftry 

% voluntary motion (functioncs nmAfmnh^y fa ftlfl BMP'fejjjgi. 
felon of an act~of will. Now, just as little can the 
physiological explanation of vegetative life (functiones 
naturales vitales), however far it may advance, ever 

^ invalidate the truth that the whole. .animal. .life which develops itself is the manifestation of will. In 
general, then, as we have shown above, no etiological 
explanation can ever give us more than the necessarily 
determined position in time and space of a particular 
manifestation, its necessary appearance there, according to 
a fixed law; but the inner nature of everything that 
appears in this way remains wholly inexplicable, and is 
presupposed by every etiological explanation, and merely 
indicated by the names, force, or law of nature, or, if we 
are speaking of action, character or will. Thus, although 
every particular action, under the presupposition of the 
definite character, necessarily follows from the given 
motive, and although growth, the process of nourish- 
ment, and all the changes of the animal body take place 
according to necessarily acting causes (stimuli), yet the 

9 whole series of actions, and consequently every individual 
act, and also its condition, the whole body itself which 
accomplishes it, and therefore also the process through 
which and in which it exists, are nothing but the mani- 
festation of the will, the becoming visible, jhj> nfycr.tifi/w- 
tion of the will Upon this rests the perfect suitableness 
of the human and animal body to the human and animal 
will in general, resembling, though far surpassing, the 
correspondence between an instrument made for a pur- 
pose and the will of the maker, and on this account 
appearing as design, i.e., the teleological explanation of 


the body. The parts of the body must, therefore, com- 
pletely correspond to the principal desires through which 
the will manifests itself ; they must be the visible expres- 
sion of these desires. Teeth, throat, and bowels are 
objectified hunger; the organs of generation are objecti- 
fied sexual desire; the grasping hand, the hurrying feet, 
correspond to the more indirect desires of the will which 
they express. As the human form generally corresponds 
to the human will generally, so the individual bodily 
structure corresponds to the individually modified will, 
the character of the individual, and therefore it is through- 
out and in all its parts characteristic and full of expres- 
sion It is very remarkable that Parmenides already 
gave expression to this in the following verses, quoted by 
Aristotle (Metaph. iii 5) ' — 

'Hs yao sxatrros tyii xgaff/v fisXsuv iroXwafinrw 
Tug vooi uvdzavoifft tragi sryxev to yu% ccvto 
2<rr/v, 6n-g£ proves/, (MeXew pvoig cuiQpukoigi 
Kou nam xa/ *anT ro yctg *Xeov ion voqf&a. 

(Ut enim cuique complexio membrorum flexibilium se 
habet, ita mens hominibus adest : idem namque est, quod 
sapit/membrorum natura hominibus, et omnibus et omni: 
quod enim plus est, intelligentia est.) 1 

S 2 1 . Whoever has now gained from all these expositions 
a knowledge in ahtracto, and therefore clear and certain, 
of what every one knows directly in concreto, i.e., as feeling, 
a knowledge that frfe-will jg thfi ,TPfl,1, inTier nature of hk. 
phenonae^allieilig, w hichjnanifests itself to him _asjdea, 
bothlnhisTctions and in their permanent substratum, 
his body, and that his will is that which is most un- . 
mediate in his consciousness, though it has not as such 
completely passed into the form of idea in which object 
and subject stand over against each other, but makes 

1 Cf. Ch. xx. <f the Supplement, Physiology and Comparative Ana- 
und also in my work, « Ueler dm tomy, where the subject I have only 
WUUnTv Z 7aturr the chapters on touched upon here ui fully discussed. 

J 42 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. il 

itself known to him in a direct manner, in which he does 
not quite clearly distinguish subject and object^ yet ia 
not known as a whole to the individual himself, but oidy 
in its particular acts, — whoever, I say, has with me 
gained this conviction will find that of itself it affords 
him the key to the knowledge of the inmost being of the 
whole of nature ; for he now transfers it to all those 
phenomena which are not given to him, like his own 
phenomenal existence, both in direct and indirect 
knowledge, but only in the latter, thus merely one- 
sidedly as idea alone. He will recognise this will of 

• which we are speaking not only in those phenome- 
nal existences which exactly resemble his own, in men 
and animals as their inmost nature, but the course of 
reflection will lead him to recognise the force which 

+ germinates and vegetates in the plant, and indeed the 
force through which the crystal is formed, that by which 
the magnet turns to the north pole, the force whose 
shock he experiences from the contact of two different 
kinds of metals, the force which appears in the elective 
affinities of matter as repulsion and attraction, decom- 
position and combination, and, lastly, even gravitation, 
which acts so powerfully throughout matter, draws the 
stone to the earth and the earth to the sun, — all these, I 
say, he will recognise as different only in their pheno- 

• menal existence, but in their inner nature as identical, 
as that which is directly known to him so inti- 
mately and so much better than anything else, and 
which in its most distinct manifestation is called will. 

I It is this application of reflection alone that prevents us 
from remaining any longer at the phenomenon, and leads us 
to the t?Ung in itself. Phenomenal existence is idea and 
nothing more. All idea, of whatever kind it may be, all 
object, is phenomenal existence, but th e will alone is a. 

• thdn^LWi^ifi j As such, it is throughout not idea, but 
toto genere dirterent from it ; it is that of which all idea, 
all object, is the phenomenal appearance, the visibility, 


the objectification. It is the inmost nature, the kernel, 
of every particular thing, and also of the whole. It 
appears in every blind force of nature and also in the I 
preconsidered action of man ; and the great difference 
between these two is merely in the degree of the mani- 
festation, not in the nature of what manifests itself. 

§ 22. Sow, if we are to think as an object r this thin gs 
in-i tself (we wish to retain the Kantian expression as a 
standing formula), which, as such, isj iever object, because 
all object is its mere manifestation, and therefore cannot 
be it itself, jwe must borrow for it the name and concept 
of an object, of something in some way objectively given, 
consequently of one of its own manifestations. But in 
order to serve as a clue for the understanding, this can be 
no other than the most complete of all its manifestations, 
i.e., the most distinct, the most developed, and directly 
enlightened by knowledge. Now this is the human will. 
It is, however, well to observe that here, at any rate, we 
only make use of a denominatio a potiori, through which, 
therefore, the concept of will receives a greater exten- 
sion than it has hitherto had. Knowledge of Jhe .Jdfin-j 
tdgaj ir» ^ifflarPTif pT^nr^^p and of (jiffpTP.nce in simil ai., 
phenomena , is, as Plato so often remarks, a sine qua non 
o f pMlo sojihy. But hitherto it was not recognised that 
, every kind of active and operating force in nature is 
essent ially identicaFwith will, and therefore the multi- 
farious kinds of phenomena were not seen to be merely 
different species of the same genus, but were treated as 
heterogeneous. Consequently there could be no word to 
denote the concept of this genus. 1 therefore name the 
genus after its most important species, the direct know- 
ledge of which lies nearer to us and guides us to the in- 
direct knowledge of all other species. But whoever is 
incapable of carrying out the required extension of the 
concept will remain involved in a permanent misunder- 
standing. For by the word will he understands only 
that species of it which has hitherto been exclusively 


\ denoted by it, the will which is guided by knowledge, 
and whose manifestation follows only upon motives, and 
indeed merely abstract motives, and thus takes place under 
the guidance of the reason. This, we have said, is only 

* the most prominent example of the manifestation of wilL 
We must now distinctly separate in thought the inmost 

1 essence of this manifestation which is known to us 
directly, and then transfer it to all the weaker, less dis- 
tinct manifestations of the same nature, and thus we 
o shall accomplish the desired extension of the concept of 
will. From another point of view I should be equally 
misunderstood by any one who should think that it is 
all the same in the end whether we denote this inner 
nature of all phenomena by the word will or by any 
other. This would be the case if the thing-in-itself were 
something whose existence we merely inferred, and thus 
knew indirectly and only in the abstract. Then, indeed, 
we might call it what we pleased ; the name would stand 
merely as the symbol of an unknown quantity. But the 
word will, which, like a magic spell, discloses to us the 
inmost being of everything in nature, is by no means an 
unknown quantity, something arrived at only by infer- 
ence, but is fully and immediately comprehended, and is 
so familiar to us that we know and understand what will 

* is far better than anything else whatever. The concept 
of will has hitherto commonly been subordinated to that 
of force, but I reverse the matter entirely, and desire that 

, ever y force in nature should be thought as wil l. It must 
not be supposed that this is mere verbal quibbling or of 
no consequence ; rather, it is of the greatest significance 

* and importance. For at the foundation of the concept 
1 of force, as of all other concepts, there ultimately lies 

the knowledge in sense-perception of the objective world, 
that is to say, the phenomenon, the idea ; and the con- 
cept is constructed out of this. It is an abstraction from 
the province in which cause and effect reign, i.e. } from 
ideas of perception, and means just the causal nature of 


> causes ,at the point at which this causal nature is no 
further etiologically explicable, but is the necessary pre- 
supposition of all etiological explanation. '/The concept 
will, on the other hand, is of all possible concepts the 
only one which has its source not in the phenomenal, not in 
the mere idea of perception, but comes from within, and 
proceeds from the most immediate consciousness of each 
of us, in which" eaclTbf us i knows his own individuality, 
according to its nature, immediately, apart from all form] 
SSSL^f!* of sub J ect and object, and which at the same 
^time is tliis individuality, for here the subject and the 
object of knowledge are one. If, therefore, we refer 
the concept of force to that of will, we have in fact 
referred the less known to what is infinitely better 
known ; indeed, to the one thing that is really immediately 
and fully known to us, and have very greatly extended 
our knowledge. If, on the contrary, we subsume the 
concept of will under that of force, as has hitherto 
always been done, we renounce the only immediate 
knowledge which we have of the inner nature of the 
world, for we allow it to disappear in a concept which is 
abstracted from the phenomenal, and with which we can 
therefore never go beyond the phenomenal. 

§ 23. The will as a thing in itself is quite different from 
its phenomenal appearance, and entirely free from all the 
forms of the phenomenal, into which it first passes when 
it manifests itself, and which therefore only concern its 
objectivity, and are foreign to the will itself. Even the V 
most universal form of aU idea, that of being object for a 
subject, does not concern it; still less the, forms which 
are subordinate to this and which collectively have their 
common expression in the principle of sufficient reason, 
to which we know that time and space belong, and con- 
sequently multiplicity also, which exists and is possible 
only through these. In this last regard I shall caU time 1 
and space the principium individuations, borrowing an 
expression from the old schoolmen, and I beg to draw 

vol. 1. 

, 4 6 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. ii. 

attention to this, once for all. For it is only through 
the medium of time and space that what is one and the 
same, both according to its nature and to its concept, yet 
appears as different, as a multiplicity of co-existent and 
successive phenomena. Thus time and space are the 
principium individuationis, the subject of so many subtle- 
ties and disputes among the schoolmen, which may be 

r found collected in Suarez (Disp. 5, Sect. 3). According 
to what has been said, the will as a thing-in-itself lies 
outside the province of the principle of sufficient reason 
in all its forms, and is consequently completely ground- 

r less, although all its manifestations are entirely subordi- 
nated to the principle of sufficient reason, JTurther, it is 
free from all multiplicity, although its manifestations in 

; time and space are innumerable. It is itself one, though 
not in the sense in which an object is one, for the unity 
of an object can only be known in opposition to a possible 
multiplicity ; nor yet in the sense in which a concept is 
one, for the unity of a concept originates only in abstrac- 
tion from a multiplicity ; but it is one as that which lies 
outside time and space, the principium individuationis, 
ie., the possibility of multiplicity. Only when all this 
has became quite clear to us through the subsequent 
examination of the phenomena and different manifesta- 
tions of the will, shall we fully understand the meaning 
of the Kantian doctrine that time, space and causality do 
not belong to the thing-in-itself, but are only forms of 

t The uncaused nature of will has been actually recog- 
nised, where it manifests itself most distinctly, as the 
will of man, and this has been called free, independent. 
But on account of the uncaused nature of the will itself, 
the necessity to which its manifestation is everywhere 
subjected has been overlooked, and actions are treated as 
free, which they are not. For every individual action 
follows with strict necessity from the effect of the motive 
upon the character. All necessity is, as we have already 


said, the relation of the consequent to the reason, and 
nothing more. The principle of sufficient reason is the^ 
universal form of all phenomena, and man in his action ( 
must be subordinated to it like every other phenomenon. ] 
But because in self- consciousness the will is known! 
directly and in itself, in this consciousness lies also the/ 
consciousness of freedom. The fact is, however, over- 
looked that the individual, the person, is not will as a 
thing-in- itself, but is a phenomenon of will, is already 
determined as such, and has come under the form of the 
phenomenal, the principle of sufficient reason. Hence 
arises the strange fact that every one believes himself a 
priori to be perfectly free, even in his individual actions, 
and thinks that at every moment he can commence 
another manner of life, which just means that he can 
become another person. But a posteriori, through ex- 
perience, he finds to his astonishment that he is not free, 
but subjected to necessity; that in spite of all his 
resolutions and reflections he does not change his conduct, 
and that from the beginning of his life to the end of it, 
he must carry out the very character which he himself 
condemns, and as it were play the part he has under- 
taken to the end. I cannot pursue this subject further 
at present, for it belongs, as ethical, to another part of 
this work. In the meantime, I only wish to point out 
here that the 'phenomenon of the will which in itself is 
uncaused, is yet as such subordinated to the law of 
necessity, that is, the principle of sufficient reason, so 
that in the necessity with which the phenomena of 
nature follow each other, we may find nothing to hinder 
us from recognising in them the manifestations of will. 

Only those changes which have no other ground than 
a motive, i.e. } an idea, have hitherto been regarded 
as manifestations of will. Therefore in nature a will 
has cnly been attributed to man, or at the most to 
animals ; for knowledge, the idea, is of course, as I have 
said elsewhere, the true and exclusive characteristic of 


animal life. But that the will is also active whore no 
knowledge guides it, we see at once in the instinct and 
9 the mechanical skill of animals. 1 That they have ideas 
and knowledge is here not to the point, for the end 
towards which they strive as definitely as if it were a 
known motive, is yet entirely unknown to them. There- 
fore in such cases their action takes place without 
motive, is not guided hy the idea, and shows us first and 
most distinctly how the will may be active entirely 
• without knowledge. The bird of a year old has no idea 
of the eggs for which it builds a nest ; the young spider 
has no idea of the prey for which it spins a web ; nor 
has the ant-lion any idea of the ants for which he digs a 
trench for the first time. The larva of the stag-beetle 
makes the hole in the wood, in which it is to await its 
metamorphosis, twice as big if it is going to be a male 
beetle as if it is going to be a female, so that if it is a 
male there may be room for the horns, of which, however, 
it has no idea. In such actions of these creatures the 
will is clearly operative as in their other actions, but it 
is in blind activity, which is indeed accompanied by 
knowledge but not guided by it. If now we have once 
gained insight into the fact, that idea as motive is not a 
necessary and essential condition of the activity of the 
will, we shall more easily recognise the activity of will 
where it is less apparent For example, we shall see 
that the house of the snail is no more made by a will 
which is foreign to the snail itself, than the house which 
we build is produced through another will than our own ; 
but we shall recognise in both houses the work of a will 
which objectifies itself in both the phenomena— a will 
which works in us according to motives, but in the snail 
still blindly as formative impulse directed outwards^ In 
us also the same will is in many ways only blindly 
active: in all the functions of our body which are not 
guided by knowledge, in all its vital and vegetative pro- 

i This is Bpecially treated in the 27th Ch. of the Supplement. 


cesses, digestion, circulation, secretion, growth, repro- 
duction. Not only the actions of the body, but the 
whole body itself is, as we have shown above, phenome- 
non of the will, objectified will, concrete will. All that 
goes on in it must therefore proceed through will, 
although here this will is not guided by knowledge, but 
acts blindly according to causes, which in this case are 
called stimuli. 

I ca ll a cause, in the narrowest sense of the word, 
that state of matter, which, while it introduces another 
state with necessity, yet suffers just as great a change 
itself as that which it causes ; which is expressed in the 
rule, " action and reaction are equal." Further, in the 
case of what is properly speaking a cause, the effect 
increases directly in proportion to the cause, and there- 
fore also the reaction. So that, if once the mode of 
operation be known, the degree of the effect may be 
measured and calculated from the degree of the intensity 
of the cause ; and conversely the degree of the intensity 
of the cause may be calculated from the degree of the 
effect. Such causes, properly so called, operate in all 
the phenomena of mechanics, chemistry, and so forth ; 
in short, in all the changes of unorganised bodies. On 
the other hand, I call a stimulus, such a cause as sustains 
no reaction proportional to its effect, and the intensity 
of which does not vary directly in proportion to the 
intensity of its effect, so that the effect cannot be 
measured by it. On the contrary, a small increase of 
the stimulus may cause a very great increase of the 
effect, or conversely, it may eliminate the previous effect 
altogether, and so forth. All effects upon organised 
bodies as such are of this kind. All properly organic 
and vegetative changes of the animal body must there- 
fore be referred to stimuli, not to mere causes. But the 
stimulus, like every cause and motive generally, never 
determines more than the point of time and space at 


which the manifestation of every force is to take place, 
and does not determine the inner nature of the force 
itself which is manifested. This inner nature we know, 
from our previous investigation, is will, to which there- 
lore we ascribe both the unconscious and the conscious 
changes of the body. The stimulus holds the mean, 
forms the transition between the motive, which is 
causality accompanied throughout by knowledge, and the 
cause in the narrowest sense. In particular cases it is 
sometimes nearer a motive, sometimes nearer a cause, but 
yet it can always be distinguished from both. Thus, for 
example, the rising of the sap in a plant follows upon 
stimuli, and cannot be explained from mere causes, 
according to the laws of hydraulics or capillary attrac- 
tion ; yet it is certainly assisted by these, and altogether 
approaches very near to a purely causal change. On the 
other hand, the movements of the JTedysarum gyrans and 
the Mimosa pudica, although still following upon mere 
stimuli, are yet very like movements which follow upon 
motives, and seem almost to wish to make the transition. 
The contraction of the pupils of the eyes as the light is 
increased is due to stimuli, but it passes into movement 
which is due to motive ; for it takes place, because too 
strong lights would affect the retina painfully, and to 
avoid this we contract the pupils. The occasion of an 
erection is a motive, because it is an idea, yet it operates 
with the necessity of a stimulus, i.e., it cannot be re- 
sisted, but we must put the idea away in order to make 
it cease to affect us. This is also the case with disgust- 
ing things, which excite the desire to vomit. Thus 
we have treated the instinct of animals as an actual 
link, of quite a distinct kind, between movement follow- 
ing upon stimuli, and action following upon a known 
motive. Now we might be asked to regard breathing as 
another link of this kind. It has been disputed whether 
it belongs to the voluntary or the involuntary movements, 
9 that is to say, whether it follows upon motive or stimu' 


lus, and perhaps it may be explained as something which 
is between the two. Marshall Hall (" On the Diseases 
of the Nervous System," § 293 sq.) explains it as a mixed 
function, for it is partly under the influence of the cerebral 
(voluntary), and partly under that of the spinal (non-vol- 
untary) nerves. However, we are finally obliged to number 
it with the expressions of will which result from motives. 
For other motives, i.e., mere ideas, can determine the will 
to check it or accelerate it, and, as is the case with every 
other voluntary action, it seems to us that we could give 
up breathing altogether and voluntarily suffocate. And 
in fact we could do so if any other motive influenced the 
will sufficiently strongly to overcome the pressing desire 
for air. According to some accounts Diogenes actually 
put an end to his life in this way (Diog. Laert. VI. 76). 
Certain negroes also are said to have done this (F. B. 
Osiander " On Suicide " [18 13] pp. 170-180). If this 
be true, it affords us a good example of the influence 
of abstract motives, i.e., of the victory of distinctively 
. rational over merely animal will. For, that breath- 
ing is at least partially conditioned by cerebral activity 
is shown by the fact that the primary cause of death 
from prussic acid is that it paralyses the brain, and so, 
indirectly, restricts the breathing; but if the breathing 
be artificially maintained till the stupefaction of the 
brain has passed away, death will not ensue. We may 
/ affco observe in passing that breathing affords us the most 
j obvious example of the fact that motives act with just as 
\ much necessity as stimuli, or as causes in the narrowest 
sense of the word, and their operation can only be 
neutralised by antagonistic motives, as action is neutralised 
by re-action. For, in the case of breathing, the illusion 
that we can stop when we like is much weaker than 
in the case of other movements which follow upon 
motives ; because in breathing the motive is very power- 
ful, very near to us, and its satisfaction is very easy, for 
the muscles which accomplish it are never tired, nothing, 

152 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. ii. 

as a rule, obstructs it, and the whole process is supported 
by the most inveterate habit of the individual. And yet 
all motives act with the same necessity. The knowledge 
that necessity is common to movements following upon 
motives, and those following upon stimuli, makes it easier 
for us to understand that that also which takes place in 
our bodily organism in accordance with stimuli and in 
obedience to law, is yet, according to its inner nature — 
will, which in all its manifestations, though never in 
itself, is subordinated to the principle of sufficient reason, 
that is, to necessity. 1 Accordingly, we shall not rest 
contented with recognising "that animals, both in their 
actions and also in their whole existence, bodily struc- 
ture and organisation, are manifestations of will ; but we 

• shall extend to plants also this immediate knowledge 
of the essential nature of things which is given to us 
alone. Now all the movements of plants follow upon 

% stimuli; for the absence of knowledge, and the move- 
ment following upon motives which is conditioned by 
knowledge, constitutes the only essential difference be- 
tween animals and plants. Therefore, what appears for 
the idea as plant life, as mere vegetation, as blindly im- 
pelling force, we shall claim, according to its inner nature, 
for will, and recognise it as just that which constitutes 
the basis of our own phenomenal being, as it expresses 
itself in our actions, and also in the whole existence 
of our body itself. 

It o nly remains for us to take the final step, the ex- 
tension of our way of looking at things to all those forces 
which act in nature in accordance with universal, un- 
changeable laws, in conformity with which the movements 
of all those bodies take place, which are wholly without 
organs, and have therefore no susceptibility for stimuli, 
and have no knowledge, which is the necessary condition 

1 This subject is fully worked out in the "Grundprobleme der Ethik") th« 
my prize essay on the freedom of the relation of cause, stimulus, and mo* 
will, in which therefore (pp. 29-44 °f '"* has also been fully explained. 


of motives. Thus we must also apply the key to the 
understanding of the inner nature of things, which the 
immediate knowledge of our own existence alone can 
give us, to those phenomena of the unorganised world 
which are most remote from^m And if we consider 
them attentively, if we observe the strong and unceasing 
impulse with which the waters hurry to the ocean, the 
persistency with which the magnet turns ever to the 
north pole, the readiness with which iron flies to the 
magnet, the eagerness with which the electric poles seek 
to be re-united, and which, just like human desire, is 
increased by obstacles ; if we see the crystal quickly and 
suddenly take form with such wonderful regularity of 
construction, which is clearly only a perfectly definite 
and accurately determined impulse in different directions, 
seized and retained by crystallisation ; if we observe the 
choice with which bodies repel and attract each other, 
combine and separate, when they are set free in a fluid 
state, and emancipated from the bonds of rigidness; 
lastly, if we feel directly how a burden which hampers 
our body by its gravitation towards the earth, unceas- 
ingly presses and strains upon it in pursuit of its one 
tendency ; if we observe all this, I say, it will require no 
great effort of the imagination to recognise, even at so 
great a distance, our own nature. That which in us pur- 
sues its ends by the light of knowledge ; but here, in 
the weakest of its manifestations, only strives blindly 
and dumbly in a one-sided and unchangeable manner, 
must yet in both cases come under the name of will, as 
it is everywhere one and the same — just as the first dim 
light of dawn must share the name of sunlight with the 
rays of the full mid- day. JJor_the name will denotes 
that which is the inner nature of everything in the world, 
and the one kernel of every phenomenon. 

Yet the remoteness, and indeed the appearance of] 
absolute difference between the phenomena of unor- 
ganised nature and the will which we know as the \ 

154 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. a 

inner reality of our own being, arises chiefly from the 
contrast between the completely determined conformity 
to law of the one species of phenomena, and the ap- 
parently unfettered freedom of the other. For in man, 
individuality makes itself powerfully felt. Every one 
has a character of his own; and therefore the same 
motive has not the same influence over all, and a 
thousand circumstances which exist in the wide sphere 
of the knowledge of the individual, but are unknown to 
others, modify its effect. Therefore action cannot be pre- 
determined from the motive alone, for the other factor is 
wanting, the accurate acquaintance with the individual 
character, and with the knowledge which accompanies it 
On the other hand, the phenomena of the forces of 
nature illustrate the opposite extreme. They act accord- 
ing to universal laws, without variation, without indivi- 
duality in accordance with openly manifest circumstances, 
subject to the most exact predetermination ; and the same 
force of nature appears in its million phenomena in 
precisely the same way. In order to explain this point 
and prove the identity of the one indivisible will in 
all its different phenomena, in the weakest as in the 
strongest, we must first of all consider the relation of 
* the will as thing-in-itself to its phenomena, that is, the 
relation of the world as will to the world as idea; for 
this will open to us the best way to a more thorough 
investigation of the whole subject we are considering in 
this second book. 1 

§ 24. We have learnt from the great Kant that time, 
space, and causality, with their entire constitution, and 
the possibility of all their forms, are present in our 
consciousness quite independently of the objects which 
appear in them, and which constitute their content ; or, 
in other words, they can be arrived at just as well if we 

J Cf. Ch. xxiii. of the Supplement, on physical astronomy, which is of 

and ako the Ch. on the physiology great importance with regard to the 

of plants in my work "Ueber den kernel of my metaphysic. 
Willen in der Natur," and the Ch. 


start from the subject as if we start from the object. There- 
fore, with equal accuracy, we may call them either forms of 

1 intuition or perception of the subject, or qualities of the 
object as object (with Kant, phenomenon), ie., idea. We 
may also regard these forms as the irreducible boundary 
between object and subject. All objects must therefore 
exist in them, yet the subject, independently of the 
phenomenal object, possesses and surveys them com- 
pletely. But if the objects appearing in these forms 
are not to be empty phantoms, but are to have a mean- 
ing, they must refer to something, must be the expression 
of something which is not, like themselves, object, idea, a 
merely relative existence for a subject, but which exists 
without such dependence upon something which stands 
over against it as a condition of its being, and inde- 
pendent of the forms of such a thing, i.e., is not idea, but 
a thing-in-itself. Consequently it may at least be asked : 
Are these ideas, these objects, something more than or 
apart from the fact that they are ideas, objects of the 
subject ? And what would they be in this sense ? What 
is that other side of them which is toto genere different 
from idea? What is the thing-in-itself? The will, we 
have answered, but for the present I set that answer 

Whatever the thing-in-itself may be, Kant is right in 
his conclusion that time, space, and causality (which we 
afterwards found to be forms of the principle of sufficient 

I reason, the general expression of the forms of the pheno- 
menon) are not its properties, but come to it only after, 
and so far as, it has become idea. That is, they belong 

t only to its phenomenal existence, not to itself. For since 
the subject fully understands and constructs them out of 
itself, independently of all object, they must be dependent 
upon existence as idea as such, not upon that which becomes 
idea. They must be the form of the idea as such ; but 
*not qualities of that which has assumed this form. They 
must be already given with the mere antithesis of subject 

1 56 THE WORLD AS WILL. uk. a 

and object (not as concepts but as facts), and consequently 
they must be only the more exact determination of the 
form of knowledge in general, whose most universal de- 
termination is that antithesis itself. Now, that in the 
phenomenon, in the object, which is in its turn con- 
ditioned by time, space and causality, inasmuch as it 
can only become idea by means of them, namely multi- 
plicity, through co-existence and succession, cliange and 
permanence through the law of causality, matter which 
can only become idea under the presupposition of caus- 
ality, and lastly, all that becomes idea only by means 
of these, — all this, I say, as a whole, does not in reality be- 
long to that which appears, to that which has passed into 
the form of idea, but belongs merely to this form itself. 
And conversely, that in the phenomenon which is not 
conditioned through time, space and causality, and which 
cannot be referred to them, nor explained in accordance 
with them, is precisely that in which the thing mani- 
fested, the thing-in-itself, directly reveals itself. It follows 
from this that the most complete capacity for being known, 
that is to say, the greatest clearness, distinctness, and sus- 
ceptibility of exhaustive explanation, will necessarily belong 
to that which pertains to knowledge as such, and thus to 
the form of knowledge; but not to that which in itself is 
not idea, not object, but which has become knowledge 
only through entering these forms ; in other words, has 
become idea, object. Thus only that which depends en- 
tirely upon being an object of knowledge, upon existing 
as idea in general and as such (not upon that which 
becomes known, and has only become idea), which 
therefore belongs without distinction to everything that 
is known, and which, on that account, is found just as 
well if we start from the subject as if we start from the 
object, — this alone can afford us without reserve a suffi- 
cient, exhaustive knowledge, a knowledge which is clear 
to the very foundation. But this consists of nothing but 
those forms of all phenomena of which we are conscious 


a priori, and which may he generally expressed as the 
principle of sufficient reason. Now, the forms of this prin- 
ciple which occur in knowledge of perception (with which 
alone we are here concerned) are time, space, and casuality. 
The whole of pure mathematics and pure natural science 
a priori is based entirely upon these. Therefore it is 
only in these sciences that knowledge finds no obscurity, 
^loes not rest upon what is incomprehensible (groundless, 
i.e., will), upon what cannot be further deduced. It is on 
this account that Kant wanted, as we have said, to apply 
the name science specially and even exclusively to these 
branches of knowledge together with logic. But, on 
the other hand, these branches of knowledge show us 
nothing more than mere connections, relations of one 
idea to another, form devoid of all content. All content 
which they receive, every phenomenon which fills these 
forms, contains something which is no longer completely 
knowable in its whole nature, something which can no 
longer be entirely explained through something else, 
something then which is groundless, through which 
consequently the knowledge loses its evidence and 
ceases to be completely lucid. This that withholds j/ 
itself from investigation, however, is the thing-in-itself, 
is that which is essentially not idea, not object of know- 
ledge, but has only become knowable by entering that ^ v 
form. The form is originally foreign to it, and the thing- 
in-itself can never become entirely one with it, can never 
be referred to mere form, and, since this form is the 
principle of sufficient reason, can never be completely 
explained. If therefore all mathematics affords us an 
exhaustive knowledge of that which in the phenomena 
is quantity, position, number, in a word, spatial and 
temporal relations; if all etiology gives us a complete 
account of the regular conditions under which pheno- 
mena, with all their determinations, appear in time and 
space, but, with it all, teaches us nothing more than why 
in each case this particular phenomenon must appear 

158 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. ii. 

just at this time here, and at this place now ; it is clear 
that with their assistance we can never penetrate to the 
inner nature of things. There always remains something 
which no explanation can venture to attack, but which 
it always presupposes ; the forces of nature, the definite 
mode of operation of things, the quality and character of 
every phenomenon, that which is without ground, that 
which does not depend upon the form of the phenomenal, 
the principle of sufficient reason, but is something to which 
this form in itself is foreign, something which has yet 

/entered this form, and now appears according to its law, 
a law, however, which only determines the appearance, 
not that which appears, only the how, not the what, 
only the form, not the content. Mechanics, physics, and 
chemistry teach the rules and laws according to which 
the forces of impenetrability, gravitation, rigidity, fluidity, 
cohesion, elasticity, heat, light, affinity, magnetism, elec- 
tricity, &c, operate ; that is to say, the law, the rule 
which these forces observe whenever they enter time and 
space. But do what we will, the forces themselves 
remain qualitates occulta. For it is just the thin^-in- 
itself, which, because it is manifested, exhibits these 
phenomena, which are entirely different from itself. In 
its manifestation, indeed, it is completely subordinated 
to the principle of sufficient reason as the form of the 
idea, but it can never itself be referred to this form, and 
therefore cannot be fully explained etiolbgically, can 
never be completely fathomed. It is certainly perfectly 
comprehensible so far as it has assumed that form, that 
is, so far as it is phenomenon, but its inner nature is not 
in the least explained by the fact that it can thus be 
comprehended. Therefore the more necessity any 
knowledge carries with it, the more there is in it of that a 
which cannot be otherwise thought or presented in per- \) 
ception — as, for example, space-relations — the clearer \J 
and more sufficing then it is, the less pure objective 
content it has, or the less reality, properly so called, is 


given in it. And conversely, the more there is in it 
which must be conceived as mere chance, and the more 
it impresses us as given merely empirically, the more 
proper objectivity and true reality is there in such 
knowledge, and at the same time, the more that is inex- 
plicable, that is, that cannot be deduced from anything 

It is true that at all times an etiology, unmindful of 
its real aim, has striven to reduce all organised life to 
chemism or electricity; all chemism, that is to say 
quality, again to mechanism (action determined by the 
shape of the atom), this again sometimes to the object 
of phoronomy, i.e., the combination of time and space, 
which makes motion possible, sometimes to the object of 
mere geometry, i.e., position in space (much in the same 
way as we rightly deduce the diminution of an effect 
from the square of the distance, and the theory of the lever 
in a purely geometrical manner) : geometry may finally 
be reduced to arithmetic, which, on account of its one 
dimension, is of all the forms of the principle of sufficient 
reason, the most intelligible, comprehensible, and com- 
pletely susceptible of investigation. As instances of the 
method generally indicated here, we may refer to the 
atoms of Democritus, the vortex of Descartes, the 
mechanical physics of Lesage, which towards the end of 
last century tried to explain both chemical affinities and 
gravitation mechanically by impact and pressure, as may 
be seen in detail in " Lucrece Neutonien ;" Eeil's form 
and combination as the cause of animal life, also tends 
in this direction. Finally, the crude materialism which 
even now in the middle of the nineteenth century has 
been served up again under the ignorant delusion that it 
is original, belongs distinctly to this class. It stupidly 
denies vital force, and first of all tries to explain the 
phenomena of life from physical and chemical forces, and 
those again from the mechanical effects of the matter, 
position, form, aDd motion of imagined atoms, and thus 

i&> THE WORLD AS WILL. bk ii. 

seeks to reduce all the forces of nature to action and re- 
action as its thing-in-itself. According to this teaching, 
light is the mechanical vibration or undulation of an imagi- 
nary ether, postulated for this end. This ether, if it reaches 
the eye, beats rapidly upon the retina, and gives us the 
knowledge of colour. Thus, for example, four hundred 
and eighty-three billion beats in a second give red, and 
seven hundred and twenty-seven billion beats in a second 
give violet. Upon this theory, persons who are colour- 
blind must be those who are unable to count the beats, 
must they not? Such crass, mechanical, clumsy, and 
certainly knotty theories, which remind one of Deraocritus, 
are quite worthy of those who, fifty years after the appear- 
ance of Goethe's doctrine of colour, still believe in New- 
ton's homogeneous light, and are not ashamed to say so. 
They will find that what is overlooked in the child 
(Democritus) will not be forgiven to the man. They 
might indeed, some day, come to an ignominious end ; 
but then every one would slink away and pretend that 
he never had anything to do with them. We shall soon 
have to speak again of this false reduction of the forces 
of nature to each other ; so much for the present. Sup- 
posing this theory were possible, all would certainly 
be explained and established and finally reduced to an 
arithmetical problem, which would then be the holiest 
thing in the temple of wisdom, to which the principle of 
sufficient reason would at last have happily conducted 
us. But all content of the phenomenon would have dis- 
appeared, and the mere form would remain. The "what 
appears " would be referred to the " how it appears," and 
this " how " would be what is a prim knowable, there- 
fore entirely dependent on the subject, therefore only for 
the subject, therefore, lastly, mere phantom, idea and 
form of idea, through and through: no thing-in-itself 
could be demanded. Supposing, then, that this were 
possible, the whole world would be derived from the 
subject, and. in fact, that would be accomplished which 


Fiehte wanted to seem to accomplish by his empty 
bombast. But it is not possible : phantasies, sophisms, 
castles in the air, have been constructed in this way, but 
science never. The many and multifarious phenomena 
in nature have been successfully referred to particular 
original forces, and as often as this has been done, a real 
advance has been made. Several forces and qualities, 
which were at first regarded as different, have been 
derived from each other, and thus their number has been 
curtailed. (For example, magnetism from electricity.) 
Etiology will have reached its goal when it has recog- 
nised and exhibited as such all the original forces of 
nature, and established their mode of operation, i.e., the 
law according to which, under the guidance of causality, 
their phenomena appear in time and space, and determine 
their position with regard to each other. But certain origi- 
nal forces will always remain over; there will always remain 
as an insoluble residuum a content of phenomena which 
cannot be referred to their form, and thus cannot be ex- 
plained from something else in accordance with the principle 
of sufficient reason. For in everything in nature there is 
something of which no ground can ever be assigned, of 
which no explanation is possible, and no ulterior cause 
is to be sought. This is the specific nature of its action, 
i.e., the nature of its existence, its being. Of each par- 
ticular effect of the thing a cause may be certainly 
indicated, from which it follows that it must act just 
at this time and in this place; but no cause can 
ever be found from which it follows that a thing acts in 
general, and precisely in the way it does. If it has no 
other qualities, if it is merely a mote in a sunbeam, it yet 
exhibits this unfathomable something, at least as weight 
and impenetrability. But this, I say, is to the mote what 
his will is to a man ; and, like the human will, it is, ac- 
cording to its inner nature, not subject to explanation; 
nay, more — it is in itself identical with this will. It is 
true that a motive may be given for every manifestation 
vol. I. L 


of will, for every act of will at a particular time and in 
a particular place, upon which it must necessarily follow, 
under the presupposition of the character of the man. 
But no reason can ever he given that the man has this 
character ; that he wills at all ; that, of several motives, 
just this one and no other, or indeed that any motive at 
all, moves his will. That which in the case of man is 
the unfathomable character which is presupposed in every 
explanation of his actions from motives is, in the case of 
every unorganised body, its definitive quality — the mode of 
its action, the manifestations of which are occasioned by 
impressions from without, while it itself, on the contrary, 
is determined by nothing outside itself, and thus is also 
inexplicable. Its particular manifestations, through which 
alone it becomes visible, are subordinated to the principle 
of sufficient reason ; it itself is groundless. This was in 
substance rightly understood by the schoolmen, who called 
it forma substantialis. (Cf. Suarez, Disput Metaph., disp. 
xv. sect. I.) 

It is a greater and a commoner error that the pheno- 
mena which we best understand are those which are of 
most frequent occurrence, and which are most universal 
and simple ; for, on the contrary, these are just the phe- 
nomena that we are most accustomed to see about us, 
and to be ignorant of. It is just as inexplicable to us 
that a stone should fall to the earth as that an animal 
should move itself. It has been supposed, as we have 
remarked above, that, starting from the most universal 

\ forces of nature (gravitation, cohesion, impenetrability), it 
j was possible to explain from them the rarer forces, which 

/ only operate under a combination of circumstances (for 
example, chemical quality, electricity, magnetism), and, 
lastly, from these to understand the organism and the life 
of animals, and even the nature of human knowing and 
willing. Men resigned themselves without a word to 
starting from mere qvalitates occulta, the elucidation of 
which was entirely given up, for they intended to build 


upon them, not to investigate them. Such an intention 
cannot, as we have already said, be carried out. But 
apart from this, such structures would always stand in 
the air. What is the use of explanations which ultimately 
refer us to something which is quite as unknown as the 
problem with which we started? Do we in the end 
understand more of the inner nature of these universal 
natural forces than of the inner nature of an animal? 
Is not the one as much a sealed book to us as the other ? 
Unfathomable because it is without ground, because it is 
the content, that which the phenomenon is, and which 
can never be referred to the form, to the how, to the 
principle of sufficient reason. Bat we, who have in view 
not etiology but philosophy, that is, not relative but un- 
conditioned knowledge of the real nature of the world, 
take the opposite course, and start from that which is 
immediately and most completely known to us, and fully 
and entirely trusted by us — that which lies nearest to us, 
in order to understand that which is known to us only 
at a distance, one-sidedly and indirectly. Prom the most 
powerful, most significant, and most distinct phenomenon 
we seek to arrive at an understanding of those that are 
less complete and weaker. With the exception of my 
own body, all things are known to me only on one side, 
that of the idea. Their inner nature remains hidden 
from me and a profound secret, even if I know all the 
• causes from which their changes follow. Onlv by com- 
parison with that which goes on in me if my body per- 
forms an action when I am influenced by a motive only 

/by comparison, I say, with what is the inner nature of 
my own changes determined by external reasons, can I 
obtain insight into the way in which these lifeless bodies 
change under the influence of causes, and so understand 
what is their inner nature. For the knowledge of the 
causes of the manifestation of this inner nature affords 
me merely the rule of its appearance in time and space, 
and nothing more. I can make this comparison because 


my body is the only object of which I know not merely 
the one side, that of the idea, but also the other side 
/ which is called will. Thus, instead of believing that T 
would better understand my own organisation, and then 
my own knowing and willing, and my movements follow- 
ing upon motives, if I could only refer them to movements 
due to electrical, chemical, and mechanical causes, I must, 
seeing that I eeek philosophy and not etiology, learn to 
understand from my own movements following upon 
motives the inner nature of the simplest and commonest 
movements of an unorganised body which I see following 
upon causes. I must recognise the inscrutable forces y 
which manifest themselves in all natural bodies as identi- 
cal in kind with that which in me is the will, and as 
differing from it only in degree. That is to say, the fourth 
class of°ideas given in the Essay on the Principle of Suffi- 
cient Reason must be the key to the knowledge of the 
inner nature of the first class, and by means of the law 
of motivation I must come to understand the inner mean- 
ing of the law of causation. 

Spinoza (Epist. 62) says that if a stone which has 
been projected through the air had consciousness, it would 
believe that it was moving of its own will. I add to this 
/only that the stone would be right. The impulse given 
it is for the stone what the motive is for me, and what 
in the case of the stone appears as cohesion, gravitation, 
rigidity, is in its inner nature the same as that which I 
recognise in myself as will, and what the stone also, if 
knowledge were given to it, would recognise as will. In 
the passage referred to, Spinoza had in view the necessity 
with which the stone flies, and he rightly desires to 
transfer this necessity to that of the particular act of will 
of a person. I, on the other hand, consider the inner 
being, which alone imparts meaning and validity to all 
real ^necessity (i.e., effect following upon a cause) as its 
presupposition. In the case of men this is called char- 
acter; in the case of a stone it is called quality, but it is ^ 


the same in both. When it is immediately known it* 
is, called will. In the stone it has the weakest, and in 
•man the strongest degree of visibility, of objectivity. St. 
Augustine recognises, with a true instinct, this identity 
of the tendencies of all things with our own willing, and 
I cannot refrain from quoting his naive account of the 
matter : — " Si pecora essemus, carnalem vitam et quod se- 
cundum sensum ejusdem est amaremus, idque esset sufficient 
bonum nostrum, et secundum hoc si esset nobis bene, nihil 
aliud qucereremus. Item, si ar bores essemus, nihil quidem 
sentientes motu amare possemus : verumtamen id quasi ap- 
petere videremur, quo feracius essemus, uberiusque fructuosce. 
Si essemus lapides, aut fluctus, ant ventus, aut flamma, vel 
quid ejusmodi, sine ullo quidem sensu atque vita, nou tamen 
nobis deesset quasi quidam nostrorum locorum atque ordinis 
appetitus. Nam velut amores corporum momenta sunt pon- 
derum, sive deorsum gravitate, sive sursum levitate nitantur : 
ita enim corpus pondere, sicut animus amore fertur quocun- 
quefertur" (De Civ. Dei, xi. 28). 

It ought further to be mentioned that Euler saw that 
the inner nature of gravitation must ultimately be refer- 
red to an "inclination and desire" (thus will) peculiar to 
material bodies (in the 68th letter to the Princess). In- 
deed, it is just this that makes him averse to the concep- 
tion of gravitation as it existed for Newton, and he is in- 
clined to try a modification of it in accordance with the 
earlier Cartesian theory, and so to derive gravitation from 
the impact of an ether upon the bodies, as being " more 
rational and more suitable for persons who like clear and 
intelligible principles." He wishes to banish attraction 
from physics as a qualitas occulta. This is only in keep- 
ing with the dead view of nature which prevailed at 
Euler's time as the correlative of the immaterial souL 
It is only worth noticing because of its bearing upon the 
fundamental truth established by me, which even at that 
time this fine intellect saw glimmering in the distance. 
He hastened to turn in time, and then, in his anxiety at 

166 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. ii. 

seeing all the prevalent fundamental views endangered, he 
sought safety in the old and already exploded absurdities. 
We know that multiplicity in general is necessarily 
conditioned by space and time, and is only thinkable in 
them. In this respect they are called the principium 
indwiduationis. But we have found that space and 
time are forms of the principle of sufficient reason. In 
this principle all our knowledge a priori is expressed, 
but, as we showed above, this a priori knowledge, as such, 
only applies to the knowableness of things, not to the 
things themselves, i.e., it is only our form of knowledge, 
it is not a property of the thing-in-itself. The thing-in- 
itself is, as such, free from all forms of knowledge, even 
the most universal, that of being an object for the sub- 
ject In other words, the thing-in-itself is something 
altogether different from the idea. If^now, this thing- 
in-itself is the will, as I believe I Have fully and con- 
vincingly proved it to be, then, regarded as such and 
a^rt from its manifestation, it lies outside time and 
space, and therefore knows no multiplicity, and is conse- 
quently one. Yet, as I have said, it is not one in the 
sense in which an individual or a concept is one, but as 
something to which the condition of the possibility of 
multiplicity, the principium individuationis, is foreign. 
The multiplicity of things in space and time, which 
collectively constitute the objectification of will, does not 
affect the will itself, which remains indivisible notwith- 
standing it. It is not the case that, in some way or 
other, a smaller part of will is in the stone and a larger 
part in the man, for the relation of part and whole 
belongs exclusively to space, and has no longer any 
meaning when we go beyond this form of intuition or 
perception. The more and the less have application 
only to the phenomenon of will, that is, its visibility, its 
objectification. Of this there is a higher grade in the plant 
than in the stone ; in the animal a higher grade than in 
the plant : indeed, the passage of will into visibility, its 


objectiiication, lias grades as innumerable as exist be- 
tween the dimmest twilight and the brightest sunshine, 
the loudest sound and the faintest echo. We shall 
return later to the consideration of thescTgrades of visi- 
bility which belong to the objectification of the will, to 
the reflection of its nature. But as the grades of its 
objectification do not directly concern the will itself, 
still less is it concerned by the multiplicity of the 
phenomena of these different grades, ie. } the multitude 
of individuals of each form, or the particular manifesta- 
tions of each force. For this multiplicity is directly 
conditioned by time and space, into which the will itself 
never enters. The will reveals itself as completely and 
as much in one oak as in millions. Their number and 
multiplication in space and time has no meaning with 
regard to it, but only with regard to the multiplicity of 
individuals who know in space and time, and who are 
themselves multiplied and dispersed in these. The mul- 
tiplicity of these individuals itself belongs not to the will, 
but only to its manifestation. We may therefore say 
that if, per impossibUe, a single real existence, even the 
most insignificant, were to be entirely annihilated, the 
whole world would necessarily perish with it. The 
great mystic Angelus Silesius feels this when he says — 

" I know God cannot live an instant without me, 
He must give up the ghost if I should cease to be.'' 

Men have tried in various ways to bring the immeasurable 
greatness of the material universe nearer to the compre- 
hension of us all, and then they have seized the oppor- 
tunity to make edifying remarks. They have referred 
perhaps to the relative smallness of the earth, and indeed 
of man ; or, on the contrary, they have pointed out the 
greatness of the mind of this man who is so insignificant — 
the mind that can solve, comprehend, and even measure 
the greatness of the universe, and so forth. Now, all 
this is very well, but to me, when I consider the vast- 

168 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. ii. 

ness of the world, the most important point is this, that 
the thing-in-itself, whose manifestation is the world — 
whatever else it may be — cannot have its true self spread 
out and dispersed after this fashion in boundless space, 
but that this endless extension belongs only to its mani- 
festation. The thing-in-itself, on the contrary, is present 
^tire and undivided in every object of nature and in every 
living being. Therefore we lose nothing by standing still 
beside any single individual thing, and true wisdom is 
not to be gained by measuring out the boundless world, 
or, what would be more to the purpose, by actually 
traversing endless space. It is rather to be attained by 
the thorough investigation of any individual thing, for 
thus we seek to arrive at a full knowledge and under- 
standing of its true and peculiar nature. 

The subject which will therefore be fully considered 
in the next book, and which has, doubtless, already pre- 
sented itself to the mind of every student of Plato, is, 
that these different grades of the objectification of will 
which are manifested in innumerable individuals, and 
exist as their unattained types or as the eternal forms of 
things, not entering themselves into time and space, 
which are the medium of individual things, but remain- 
ing fixed, subject to no change, always being, never 
becoming, while the particular things arise and pass 
away, always become and never are, — that these grades 
of the oojedifieaiion of will are, I say, simply Plato 's 
Ideas, I make this passing reference to the matter here 
in order that I may be able in future to use the word 
} Idea in this sense. In my writings, therefore, the word 
'is always to be understood in its true and original mean- 
ing given to it by Plato, and has absolutely no reference 
to those abstract productions of dogmatising scholastic 
reason, which Kant has inaptly and illegitimately used 
this word to denote, though Plato had already appro- 
priated and used it most fitly. Bv I dea, then, I under- 
stand every definite and fixed gTade of the objectificatioD 


of will, so far as it is thing-in-itself, and therefore has 
no multiplicity. These grades are related to individual 
things as their eternal forms or prototypes. The shortest 
and most concise statement of this famous Platonic 
doctrine is given us by Diogenes Laertes (iii. 12): "6 
nXarcov <j>7](n, ev rrj fyvaet, Ta? iBeas iaravcu, icadcnrep 
irapaheiyfiara, ra tfaWa TavTais eoiicevai, tovtoov 6/j,ouo- 
fi'ara fcadeaicora" — ("Plato ideas in natura velut exem- 
plaria dixit subsistere ; cetera his esse similia, ad istarum 
similitudinem consistentia "). Of Kant's misuse of the 
word I take no further notice ; what it is needful to say 
about it will be found in the Appendix. 

§ 26. The lowest grades of the objectification of will are 
to be found in those most universal forces of nature which 
partly appear in all matter without exception, as gravity 
and impenetrability, and partly have shared the given matter 
among them, so that certain of them reign in one species 
of matter and others in another species, constituting its 
specific difference, as rigidity, fluidity, elasticity, electricity, 
magnetism, chemical properties and qualities of every kind. 
They are in themselves immediate manifestations of will, 
just as much as human action ; and as such they are 
groundless, like human character. Only their particular 
manifestations are subordinated to the principle of 
sufficient reason, like the particular actions of men. They 
themselves, on the other hand, can never be called either 
effect or cause, but are the prior and presupposed condi- 
tions of all causes and effects through which their real 
nature unfolds and reveals itself. It is therefore sense- 
less to demand a cause of gravity or electricity , for they 
are original forces . Their expressions, indeed, take place 
in accordance with the law of cause and effect, so that 
every one of their particular manifestations has a cause, 
which is itself again just a similar particular manifesta- 
tion which determines that this force must express itself 
here, must appear in space and time ; but th enforce itself 
is by no means the effect of a cause , nor the . cause of an 

i 7 o THE WORLD AS WILL. BK. 11. 

effect. It is therefore a mistake to say " gravity is the 
cause of a stone falling ; " for the cause in this case is 
rather the nearness of the earth, because it attracts the 
stone. Take the earth away and the stone will not fall, 
although gravity remains. The force itself lies quite 
outside the chain of causes and effects, which presupposes 
time, because it only has meaning in relation to it ; but 
the force lies outside time. The individual change always 
has for its cause another change just as individual as 
itself, and not the force of which it is the expression. 
For that which always gives its efficiency to a cause, 
however many times it may appear, is a force of nature. 
As such, it is groundless, i.e., it lies outside the chain of 
causes and outside the province of the principle of suffi- 
cient reason in general, and is philosophically known as 
the immediate objectivity of will, which is the "in-itself " 
of the whole of nature ; but in etiology, which in this 
reference is physics, it is set down as an original force, 
i.e., ^jjucdiia s occulta . 

In the higher grades of the objectivity of will we see 
individuality occupy a prominent position, especially in 
the case of man, where it appears as the great difference 
of individual characters, i.e., as complete personality, out- 
wardly expressed in strongly marked individual physi- 
ognomy, which influences the whole bodily form. None 
of the brutes have this individuality in anything like so 
high a degree, though the higher species of them have a 
trace of it ; but the character of the species completely 
predominates over it, and therefore they have little 
individual physiognomy. The farther down we go, the 
more completely is every trace of the individual charac- 
ter lost in the common character of the species, and the 
physiognomy of the species alone remains. We know 
the physiological character of the species, and from that 
we know exactly what is to be expected from the indi- 
vidual; while, on the contrary, in the human species 
every individual has to be studied and fathomed for 


himself, which, if we wish to forecast his action with 
some degree of certainty, is, on account of the possibility 
of concealment that first appears with reason, a matter 
of the greatest difficulty. It is probably connected with 
this difference of the human species from all others, that 
the folds and convolutions of the brain, which are en- 
tirely wanting in birds, and very weakly marked in 
rodents, are even in the case of the higher animals far more 
symmetrical on both sides, and more constantly the same 
in each individual, than in the case of human beings. 1 
It is further to be regarded as a phenomenon of this 
peculiar individual character which distinguishes men 
from all the lower animals, that in the case of the brutes 
the sexual instinct seeks its satisfaction without observable 
choice of objects, while in the case of man this choice is, 
in a purely instinctive manner and independent of all 
reflection, carried so far that it rises into a powerful 
passion. While then e very man is to be re£ard ed_as_a_- 
s^ecjally^det ermined and ch aracterised phenomenon of 
wilL and indeed to a certain extent as a special Idea, 
in the case of the brutes this individual character as a 
whole is wanting, because only the species has a special 
significance. And the farther we go from man, the 
fainter becomes the trace of this individual character, so 
that plants have no individual qualities left, except such 
as may be fully explained from the favourable or un- 
favourable external influences of soil, climate, and other 
accidents. Finally, in the inorganic kingdom of nature 
all individuality disappears. The crystal alone is to be 
regarded as to a certain extent individual. It is a unity 
of the tendency in definite directions, fixed by crytallisa- 
tion, which makes the trace of this tendency permanent 
It is at the same time a cu,mulatiye.j:fipeti f "io n , of it« 
Tjr imitive f orm, bound into unity by an idea , just as the 

1 Wenzel, De Structura Cerebri 9, arts. 4 and 5 ; Vic. d'Azyr, Hist. 
Hominis et Brutorum, 18 12, ch. iii.; de l'Acad. de Sc. de Paris, 1783, pp. 
Cuvier, Lecons d'Anat., coinp. lecon 470 and 483. 

172 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. ii. 

tree is an aggregate of the single germinating fibre which 
shows itself in every rib of the leaves, in every leaf, in 
every branch; which repeats itself, and to some extent 
makes each of these appear as a separate growth, 
nourishing itself from the greater as a parasite, so that 
the tree, resembling the crystal, is a systematic aggregate 
of small plants, although only the whole is the complete 
expression of an individual Idea, i.e., of this particular 
grade of the objectification of will. But the individuals 
of the same species of crystal can have no other difference 
than such as is produced by external accidents ; indeed 
we can make at pleasure large or small crystals of every 
species. The individual, however, as such, that is, with 
traces of an individual character, does not exist further 
in unorganised nature. All its phenomena are ex- 
pressions of general forces of nature, i.e., of those grades 
of the objectification of will which do not objectify 
themselves (as is the case in organised nature), by means 
of the difference of the individualities which collectively 
express the whole of the Idea, but show themselves only 
in the species, and as a whole, without any variation in 
each particular example of it. Time, space, multiplicity, 
and existence conditioned by causes, do not belong to 
the will or to the Idea (the grade of the objectification of 
will), but only to their particular phenomena. There- 
fore such a force of nature as, for example, gravity 
or electricity, must show itself as such in precisely 
the same way in all its million phenomena, and only 
external circumstances can modify these. Thj g__ unity 
o f its being in_all_ its phenomen a, thlS -jin changeabl e 
constancy of the appearance of these, whenever, under 
the guidance of casuality, the necessary conditions are 
present, is called a law of nature . If such a law is 
once learned from experience, then the phenomenon of 
that force of nature, the character of which is expressed and 
laid down in it, may be accurately forecast and counted 
upon. But it is just this conformity to law of the 


phenomena of the lower grades of the objectification of 
will which gives them such a different aspect from the 
phenomena of the same will in the higher, ie. t the more 
distinct, grades of its objectification, in animals, and in 
men and their actions, where the stronger or weaker 
influence of the individual character and the suscep- 
tibility to motives which often remain hidden from the 
spectator, because they lie in knowledge, has had the 
result that the identity of the inner nature of the two 
kinds of phenomena has hitherto been entirely over- 

If we start from the knowledge of the particular, and 
not from that of the Idea, there is something astonish- 
ing, and sometimes even terrible, in the absolute uni- 
formity of the laws of nature. It might astonish us 
that nature never once forgets her laws; that if, for 
example, it has once been according to a law of nature 
that where certain materials are brought together under 
given conditions, a chemical combination will take place, 
or gas will be evolved, or they will go on fire ; if these 
conditions are fulfilled, whether by our interposition or 
entirely by chance (and in this case the accuracy is the 
more astonishing because unexpected), to-day just as 
well as a thousand years ago, the determined pheno- 
menon will take place at once and without delay. We 
are most vividly impressed with the marvellousness of 
this fact in the case of rare phenomena, which only 
occur under very complex circumstances, but which we 
are previously informed will take place if these con- 
ditions are fulfilled. For example, when we are told 
that if certain metals, when arranged alternately in 
fluid with which an acid has been mixed, are brought 
into contact, silver leaf brought between the extremities 
of this combination will suddenly be consumed in a 
green flame ; or that under certain conditions the hard 
diamond turns into carbonic acid. It is the ghostly 
omnipresence of natural forces that astonishes us in such 

174 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. ii. 

cases, and we remark here what in the case of pheno- 
mena which happen daily no longer strikes us, how 
the connection between cause and effect is really as 
mysterious as that which is imagined between a magic 
formula and a spirit that must appear when invoked 
by it. Qnjihe other hand, if we have attained to the 
philosophical knowledge that ,a force of natur e, i« _a 
definite grade o jJ^_objectific ation of will, that is to 
say, a definite grade of that which we recognise as our 
own inmost nature, and that this will in itself, and 
distinguished from its phenomena and their forms, jliea, 
outside time and space, and that, therefore, the multi- 
plicity, which is conditioned by time and space, does not 
belong to it, nor directly to the grade of its objectifica- 
tion, i.e., the Idea, but only to the phenomena of the 
Idea ; and if we remember that the law of causality has 
significance only in relation to time and space, inasmuch 
as it determines the position of the multitude of pheno- 
mena of the different Ideas in which the will reveals 
itself, governing the order in which they must appear; 
if, I say, in this knowledge the inner meaning of the 
great doctrine of Kant has been fully grasped, the 
doctrine that time, space, and causality do not belong to 
the thing- in-itself, but merely to the phenomenon, that 
they are only the forms of our knowledge, not qualities 
of things in themselves ; then we shall understand that 
this astonishment at the conformity to law and accurate 
operation of a force of nature, this astonishment at the 
complete sameness of all its million phenomena and the 
infallibility of their occurrence, is really like that of a 
child or a savage who looks for the first time through a 
glass with many facets at a flower, and marvels at the 
complete similarity of the innumerable flowers which 
he sees, and counts the leaves of each of them sepa- 

Thus every universal, original force of nature is nothing 
but a low grade of the objectification of will, and we call 


every such grade an eternal Idea in Plato's sense. But 
a law of nature is the relation of the Idea to the form of 
its manifestation. This form is time, space, and causality, 
which are necessarily and inseparably connected and re- 
lated to each other. Through time and space the Idea 
multiplies itself in innumerable phenomena, but the 
order according to which it enters these forms of multi- 
plicity is definitely determined by the law of causality; this 
law is as it were the norm of the limit of these phenomena 
of different Ideas, in accordance with which time, space, 
and matter are assigned to them. This norm is there- 
fore necessarily related to the identity of the aggregate of 
existing matter, which is the common substratum of all 
those different phenomena. If all these were not directed 
to that common matter in the possession of which they 
must be divided, there would be no need for such a law 
to decide their claims. They might all at once and to- 
gether fill a boundless space throughout an endless time. 
Therefore, because all these phenomena of the eternal 
Ideas are directed to one and the same matter, must 
there be a rule for their appearance and disappearance ; 
for if there were not, they would not make way for each 
other. Thus the law of causality is essentially bound up 
with that of the permanence of substance ; they recipro- 
cally derive significance from each other. Time and 
space, again, are related to them in the same way. For 
time is merely the possibility of con flicting states _ofJhg 
same matter, and ^jwg fc r^wiy Jftf possibility " f $*k 
permanence of the same m.attej^u^der_a ll sorts of co n^ 
flicting state s. Accordingly, in the preceding book we 
explained matter as the union of space and time, and 
this union shows itself as change of the accidents in 
the permanence of the substance, of which causality or 
becoming is the universal possibility. And accordingly, 
we said that matter is through and through causality. 
We explained the understanding as the subjective o.nrva. 
latiye^ of causali ty, and said matter (and thus the whole 


world as idea) exists only for the understanding; the 
understanding is its condition, its supporter as its neces- 
sary correlative. I repeat all this in passing, merely to 
call to mind what was demonstrated in the First Book, 
for it is necessary for the complete understanding of 
these two books that their inner agreement should be 
observed, since what is inseparably united in the actual 
world as its two sides, will and idea, has, in order that 
we might understand each of them more clearly in isola- 
tion, been dissevered in these two books. 

It may not perhaps be superfluous to elucidate further 
by an example how the law of causality has meaning 
only in relation to time and space, and the matter which 
consists in the union of the two. For it determines the 
limits in accordance with which the phenomena of the 
forces of nature divide themselves in the possession of 
matter, while the original forces of nature, as the imme- 
diate objectification of will, which, as a thing in itself, is 
not subordinated to the principle of sufficient reason, lie 
outside these forms, within which alone all etiological 
explanation has validity and meaning, and just on that 
account can never lead us to the inner reality of nature. 
For this purpose let us think of some kind of machine 
constructed according to the laws of mechanics. Iron 
weights begin the motion by their gravity ; copper wheels 
resist by their rigidity, affect and raise each other and 
the lever by their impenetrability, and so on. Here 
gravity, rigidity, and impenetrability are original unex- 
plained forces ; mechanics only gives us the condition 
under which, and the manner in which, they manifest 
themselves, appear, and govern a definite matter, time, 
and place. If, now, a strong magnet is made to attract 
the iron of the weight, and overcome its gravity, the 
movement of the machine stops, and the matter becomes 
forthwith the scene of quite a different force of nature 
— magnetism, of which etiology again gives no further 
explanation than the condition under which it appears. 


Or let us suppose that the copper discs of such a machine 
are laid upon zinc plates, and an acid solution introduced 
between them. At once the same matter of the machine 
has become subject to another original force, galvanism, 
which now governs it according to its own laws, and 
reveals itself in it through its phenomena ; and etiology 
can again tell us nothing about this force except the 
conditions under which, and the laws in accordance with 
which, it manifests itself. Let us now raise the tem- 
perature and add pure acid ; the whole machine burns ; 
that is to say, once more an entirely different force of 
nature, chemical energy, asserts at this time and in this 
place irresistible claims to this particular matter, and 
reveals itself in it as Idea, as a definite grade of the 
objectification of will. The calcined metal thus produced 
now unites with an acid, and a salt is obtained which 
forms itself into crystals. These are the phenomena 
of another Idea, which in itself is again quite inex- 
plicable, while the appearance of its phenomena is 
dependent upon certain conditions which etiology can 
give us. The crystals dissolve, mix with other materials, 
and vegetation springs up from them — a new pheno- 
menon of will : and so the same permanent matter may 
be followed ad infinitum, to observe how now this and 
now that natural force obtains a right to it and temporarily 
takes possession of it, in order to appear and reveal its 
own nature. The condition of this right, the point of 
time and space at which it becomes valid, is given by 
causality, but the explanation founded upon this ]aw only 
extends thus far. The force itself is a manifestation of 
will, and as such is not subject to the forms of the prin- 
ciple of sufficient reason, that is, it is groundless. It lies 
outside all time, is omnipresent, and seems as it were to 
wait constantly till the circumstances occur under which 
it can appear and take possession of a definite matter, 
supplanting the forces which have reigned in it till then. 
All time exists only for the phenomena of such a force. 
vol. I. M 


and is without significance for the force itself. Through 
thousands of years chemical forces slumber in matter till 
the contact with the reagents sets them free ; then they 
appear ; but time exists only for the phenomena, not for 
the forces themselves. For thousands of years galvanism 
slumbered in copper and zinc, and they lay quietly beside 
silver, which must be consumed in flame as soon as all 
three are brought together under the required conditions. 
Even in the organic kingdom we see a dry seed preserve 
the slumbering force through three thousand years, and 
when at last the favourable circumstances occur, grow up 
as a plant. 1 

If by this exposition the difference between a force of 
nature and all its phenomena has been made quite dis- 
tinct ; if we have seen clearly that the former is the will 
itself at this particular grade of its objectification, but 
that multiplicity comes to phenomena only through time 
and space, and that the law of causality is nothing but 
the determination of the position of these phenomena in 
/time and space; then we shall recognise the complete 
truth and the deep meaning of Malebranche's doctrine of 
occasional causes (causes occasionelles). It is well worth 

3 On the 1 6th of September 1840, years old. He had planted it in a 

at a lecture upon Egyptian Archseo- flower-pot, in which it grew up and 

logy delivered by Mr. Pettigrew at flourished. This is quoted from the 

the Literary and Scientific Institute Medical Journal of 1830 in the Jour- 

of London, he showed some corns of nal of the Koyal Institution of Great 

wheat which Sir G. Wilkinson had Britain, October 1830, p. 196.— "In 

found in a grave at Thebes, in which the garden of Mr. Grimstone of the 

they must have lain for three thou- Herbarium, Highgate. London, is a 

sand years. They were found in an pea in full fruit, which has sprung 

hermetically sealed vase. Mr. Petti- from a pea that Mr. Pettigrew and 

grew had sowed twelve grains, and the officials of the British Museum 

obtained a plant which grew five feet took out of a vase which had been 

high, and the seeds of which were found in an Egyptian sarcophagus, 

now quite ripe. — Times, 21st Septem- where it must have lain 2S44 years." 

ber 1840. In the same way in 1830 —Times, 16th August 1844. Indeed, 

Mr. Haulton produced in the Medical the living toads found in limestone 

Botanical Society of London a bui- lead to the conclusion that even ani- 

bous root which was found in the mal life is capable of such a suspen- 

hand of an Egyptian mummy, in sion for thousands of years, if this 

which it was probably put in observ- is begun in the dormant period 

Mice of some religious rite, and which and maintained by special circuit 

must have been at least two thousand stances. 


while comparing this doctrine of his, as he explains it in 
the "Becherches de la V^rite," both in the 3rd Chapter of 
the second part of the 6th Book, and in the eclaircisse- 
ments appended to this chapter, with this exposition of 
mine, and observing the complete agreement of the two 
doctrines in the case of such different systems of thought 
Indeed I cannot help admiring how Malebranche, though 
thoroughly involved in the positive dogmas which his aa e 
inevitably forced upon him, yet, in such bonds and under 
such a burden, hit the truth so happily, so correctly, and 
even knew how to combine it with these dogmas, at all 
events verbally. 

For the power of truth is incredibly great and of un- 
speakable endurance. We find constant traces of it in 
all, even the most eccentric and absurd dogmas, of diffe- 
rent times and different lands,— often indeed in stran-e 
company, curiously mixed up with other things, but still 
recognisable. It is like a plant that germinates under a 
heap o( great stones, but still struggles up to the LVrht 
working itself through with many deviations and windinW 
disfigured, worn out, stunted in its growth,— but yet °to 
the light. ' 

u In any case Malebranche is right : every natural cause 
is only an occasional cause. It only gives opportunity 
or occasion for the manifestation of the one indivisible 
will which is the "in-itself" of all things, and whose 
graduated objectification is the whole visible world. Only 
the appearance, the becoming visible, in this place, at 
this time, is brought about by the cause and is so far 
dependent on it, but not the whole of the phenomenon 
nor its inner nature. This is the will itself, to which 
the principle of sufficient reason has not application, and 
which is therefore groundless. Nothing in the world has 
a sufficient cause of its existence generally, but only a 
cause of existence just here and just now. That a 
stone exhibits now gravity, now rigidity, now elec- 
tricity, now chemical qualities, depends upon causes, 


rfo THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. n. 

upon impressions upon it from without, and is to be 
explained from these. But these qualities themselves, 
and thus the whole inner nature of the stone which con- 
sists in them, and therefore manifests itself in all the 
ways referred to ; thus, in genera], that the stone is such 
as it is, that it exists generally — all this, I say, has no 
ground, but is the visible appearance of the groundless 
will. Every ^njiRP ^ f1l11g an nnnaAinnal rflusft. We have 
found it to be so in nature, which is without knowledge, 
and it is also precisely the same when motives and not 
causes or stimuli determine the point at which the phe- 
nomena are to appear, that is to say, in the actions of 
animals and human beings. For in both cases it is one 
and the same will which appears ; very different in the 
grades of its manifestation, multiplied in the phenomena 
of these grades, and, in respect of these, subordinated to 
the principle of sufficient reason, but in itself free from 
all this. Motives do not determine the character of man, 
but only the phenomena of his character, that is, his 
actions; the outward fashion of his life, not its inner 
meaning and content These proceed from the character 
which is the immediate manifestation of the will, and is 
therefore groundless. ''That one man is bad and another 
good, does not depend upon motives or outward influ- 
ences, such as teaching and preaching, and is in this 
sense quite inexplicable. But whether a bad man shows 
his badness in petty acts of injustice, cowardly tricks, 
and low knavery which he practises in the narrow sphere 
of his circumstances, or whether as a conqueror he op- 
presses nations, throws a world into lamentation, and 
sheds the blood of millions ; this is the outward form 
of his manifestation, that which is unessential to it, and 
depends upon the circumstances in which fate has placed 
him, upon his surroundings, upon external influences, 
upon motives ; but his decision upon these motives can 
never be explained from them ; it proceeds from the will, 
of which this man is a manifestation/' Of this we shall 


speak in the Fourth Book. The manner in which the 
character discloses its qualities is quite analogous to the 
way in which those of every material body in unconscious 
nature are disclosed. Water remains water with its 
intrinsic qualities, whether as a still lake it reflects its 
banks, or leaps in foam from the cliffs, or, artificially con- 
fined, spouts in a long jet into the air. All that depends 
upon external causes ; the one form is as natural to it as 
the other, but it will always show the same form in the 
same circumstances ; it is equally ready for any, but in 
every case true to its character, and at all times reveal- 
ing this alone. So will every human character under 
all circumstances reveal itself, but the phenomena which 
proceed from it will always be in accordance with the 

§ 27. If, from the foregoing consideration of the 
forces of nature and their phenomena, we have come to 
see clearly how far an explanation from causes can go, 
and where it must stop if it is not to degenerate into the 
vain attempt to reduce the content of all phenomena to 
their mere form, in which case there would ultimately 
remain nothing but form, we shall be able to settle in 
general terms what is to be demanded of etiology as a 
whole. It must seek out the causes of all phenomena 
in nature, i.e., the circumstances under which they in- 
variably appear. Then it must refer the multitude of 
phenomena which have various forms in various circum- 
stances to what is active in every phenomenon, and is 
presupposed in the cause, — original forces of nature. It 
must correctly distinguish between a difference of the 
phenomenon which arises from a difference of the force, 
and one which results merely from a difference of the 
circumstances under which the force expresses itself; 
and with equal care it must guard against taking the 
expressions of one and the same force under different 
circumstances for the manifestations of different forces, 
and conversely against taking for manifestations of one 


and the same force what originally belongs to different 
forces. Now this is the direct work of the faculty of 
judgment, and that is why so few men are capable of 
increasing our insight in physics, while all are able to 
enlarge experience. Indolence and ignorance make us 
disposed to appeal too soon to original forces. This is 
exemplified with an exaggeration that savours of irony 
in the entities and quidities of the schoolmen. Nothiug 
is further from my desire than to favour their resusci- 
tation. We have just as little right to appeal to the 
objectiiication of will, instead of giving a physical ex- 
planation, as we have to appeal to the creative power of 
God. For physics demands causes, and the will is never 
a cause. Its whole relation to the phenomenon is not in 
accordance with the principle of sufficient reason. But 
that which in itself is the will exists in another aspect 
as idea; that is to say, is phenomenon. As such, it 
obeys the laws which constitute the form of the pheno- 
menon. Every movement, for example, although it is 
always a manifestation of will, must yet have a cause 
from which it is to be explained in relation to a par- 
ticular time and space; that is, not in general in its 
inner nature, but as a particular phenomenon. In the 
case of the stone, this is a mechanical cause ; in that of 
the movement of a man, it is a motive ; but in no case 
can it be wanting. On the other hand, the universal 
common nature of all phenomena of one particular kind, 
that which must be presupposed if the explanation from 
causes is to have any sense and meaning, is the general 
force of nature, which, in physics, must remain a qualita* 
occulta, because with it the etiological explanation ends 
and the metaphysical begins. But the chain of causes 
and effects is never broken by an original force to which 
it has been necessary to appeal. It does not run back 
to such a force as if it were its first link, but the nearest 
link, as well as the remotest, presupposes the original 
force, and could otherwise explain nothing. A series of 


causes and effects may be the manifestation of the most 
different kinds of forces, whose successive visible appear- 
ances are conducted through it, as I have illustrated above 
by the example of a metal machine. But the difference 
of these original forces, which cannot be referred to each 
other, by no means breaks the unity of that chain of causes, 
and the connection between all its links. The etiology 
and the philosophy of nature never do violence to 
each other', but go hand in hand, regarding the same 
object from different points of view. Etiology gives an 
account of the causes which necessarily produce the par- 
ticular phenomenon to be explained. It exhibits, as the 
foundation of all its explanations, the universal forces 
which are active in all these causes and effects. It 
accurately defines, enumerates, and distinguishes these 
forces, and then indicates all the different effects in which 
each force appears, regulated by the difference of the 
circumstances, always in accordance with its own peculiar 
character, which it discloses in obedience to an invariable 
rule, called a law of nature. When all this has been 
thoroughly accomplished by physics in every particular, 
it will be complete, and its work will be done. There 
will then remain no unknown force in unorganised nature, 
nor any effect, which has not been proved to be the mani- 
festation of one of these forces under definite circum- 
stances, in accordance with a law of nature. Yet a law 
of nature remains merely the observed rule according to 
which nature invariably proceeds whenever certain definite 
circumstances occur. Therefore a law of nature may be 
defined as a fact expressed generally — unfait ge'ndralise' — 
and thus a complete enumeration of all the laws of nature 
would only be a complete register of facts. The con- 
sideration of nature as a whole is thus completed in 
morphology, which enumerates, compares, and arranges all 
the enduring forms of organised nature. Of the causes 
of the appearance of the individual creature it has little 
to say, for in all cases this is procreation (the theory of 

1 84 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. ii. 

which is a separate matter), and in rare cases the generatio 
cequivoca. But to this last belongs, strictly speaking, the 
manner in which all the lower grades of the objectifica- 
tion of will, that is to say, physical and chemical pheno- 
mena, appear as individual, and it is precisely the task 
of etiology to point out the conditions of this appearance. 
Philosophy, on the other hand, concerns itself only with 
the universal, in nature as everywhere else. The original 
forces themselves are here its object, and it recognises in 
them the different grades of the objectivity of will, which 
is the inner nature, the " in-itself " of this world ; and 
when it regards the world apart from will, it explains it 
as merely the idea of the subject. But if etiology, in- 
stead of preparing the way for philosophy, and supplying 
its doctrines with practical application by means of 
instances, supposes that its aim is rather to deny the 
existence of all original forces, except perhaps one, the 
most general, for example, impenetrability, which it 
imagines it thoroughly understands, and consequently 
seeks forcibly to refer all the others to it — it forsakes its 
own province and can only give us error instead of 
truth. The content of nature is supplanted by its form, 
everything is ascribed to the circumstances which work 
from without, and nothing to the inner nature of the 
thing. Now if it were possible to succeed by this method, 
a problem in arithmetic would ultimately, as we have 
already remarked, solve the riddle of the universe. But 
this is the method adopted by those, referred to above, 
who think that all physiological effects ought to be reduced 
to form and combination, this, perhaps, to electricity, and 
this again to chemism, and chemism to mechanism. The 
mistake of Descartes, for example, and of all the Atomists, 
was of this last description. They referred the move- 
ments of the globe to the impact of a fluid, and the 
qualities of matter to the connection and form of the 
atoms, and hence they laboured to explain all the pheno- 
mena of nature as merely manifestations of impenetra- 


bility and cohesion. Although this has been given up, 
precisely the same error is committed in our own day by 
the electrical, chemical, and mechanical physiologists, who 
obstinately attempt to explain the whole of life and all the 
functions of the organism from " form and combination." 
In Meckel's "Archiv fur Physiologie " (1820, vol. v. p. 
185) we still find it stated that the aim of physiological 
explanation is the reduction of organic life to the universal 
forces with which physics deals. Lamarck also, in his 
" Philosophic Zoologique" explains life as merely the 
effect of warmth and electricity : le calorique et la matiere 
electrique sufflsent parfaitement pour composer ensemble cette 
cause essentielle de la vie (p. 1 6). According to this, warmth 
and electricity would be the " thing-in-itself," and the 
world of animals and plants its phenomenal appearance. 
The absurdity of this opinion becomes glaringly apparent 
at the 306th and following pages of that work. It is 
well known that all these opinions, that have been so 
often refuted, have reappeared quite recently with re- 
newed confidence. If we carefully examine the founda- 
tion of these views, we shall find that they ultimately 
involve the presupposition that the organism is merely 
an aggregate of phenomena of physical, chemical, and me- 
chanical forces, which have come together here by chance, 
and produced the organism as a freak of nature without 
further significance. The organism of an animal or of a 
human being would therefore be, if considered philosophi- 
cally, not the exhibition of a special Idea, that is, not itself 
immediate objectivity of the will at a definite higher 
grade, but in it would appear only those Ideas which 
objectify the will in electricity, in chemism, and in 
mechanism. Thus the organism would be as fortuitously 
constructed by the concurrence of these forces as the 
forms of men and beasts in clouds and stalactites, and 
would therefore in itself be no more interesting than they 
are. However, we shall see immediately how far the 
application of physical and chemical modes of explana- 


tion to the organism may yet, within certain limits, be 
allowable and useful ; for I shall explain that the vital 
force certainly avails itself of and uses the forces of 
unorganised nature ; yet these forces no more constitute 
the vital force than a hammer and anvil make a black- 
smith. Therefore even the most simple example of plant 
life can never be explained from these forces by any 
theory of capillary attraction and endosmose, much less 
animal life. The following observations will prepare the 
way for this somewhat difficult discussion. 

It follows from all that has been said that it is 
certainly an error on the part of natural science to seek 
to refer the higher grades of the objectirication of will to 
the lower ; for the failure to recognise, or the denial of, 
original and self-existing forces of nature is just as wrong 
as the groundless assumption of special forces when what 
occurs is merely a peculiar kind of manifestation of what 
is already known. Thus Kant rightly says that it would 
be absurd to hope for a blade of grass from a Newton, 
that is, from one who reduced the blade of grass to the 
manifestions of physical and chemical forces, of which it 
was the chance product, and therefore a mere freak of 
nature, in which no special Idea appeared, i.e., the will 
did not directly reveal itself in it in a higher and 
specific grade, but just as in the phenomena of unor- 
ganised nature and by chance in this form. The school- 
men, who certainly would not have allowed such a 
doctrine, would rightly have said that it was a complete 
denial of the forma substantial™, and a degradation of it 
to the forma axcidentalis. For the forma sulstantialis of 
Aristotle denotes exactly what I call the grade of the 
objectirication of will in a thing. On the other hand, 
it is not to be overlooked that in all ixleas, that is, in all 
forces of unorganised, and all forms of organised nature, 
it is one and the same will that reveals itself, that is to 
say, which enters the form of the idea and passes into objec- 
tivity. Its unity must therefore be also recognisable 


through an inner relationship between all its phenomena. 
Now this reveals itself in the higher grades of the ob- 
jectification of will, where the whole phenomenon is more 
distinct, thus in the vegetable and animal kingdoms, 
through the universally prevailing analogy of all forms, 
the fundamental type which recurs in all phenomena. 
This has, therefore, become the guiding principle of the 
admirable zoological system which was originated 
by the French in this century, and it is most com- 
pletely established in comparative anatomy as Vunite 
de plan, Vuniformitd de ViUment anatonrique. To dis- 
cover this fundamental type has been the chief con- 
cern, or at any rate the praiseworthy endeavour, of 
the natural philosophers of the school of Schelling, who 
have in this respect considerable merit, although in 
many cases their hunt after analogies in nature degener- 
ated into mere conceits. They have, however, rightly 
shown that that general relationship and family likeness 
exists also in the Ideas of unorganised nature ; for 
example, between electricity and magnetism, the iden- 
tity of which was afterwards established ; between che- 
mical attraction and gravitation, and so forth. They 
specially called attention to the fact that polarity, that 
is, the sundering of a force into two qualitatively dif- 
ferent and opposed activities striving after reunion, 
which also shows itself for the most part in space as a 
dispersion in opposite directions, is a fundamental type 
of almost all the phenomena of nature, from the magnet 
and the crystal to man himself. Yet this knowledge 
has been current in China from the earliest times, in the 
doctrine of opposition of Yin and Yang. Indeed, since 
all things in the world are the objectification of one and 
the same will, and therefore in their inner nature iden- 
tical, it must not only be the case that there is that 
unmistakable analogy between them, and that in every 
phenomenon the trace, intimation, and plan of the 
higher phenomenon that lies next to it in point of 



development shows itself, but also because all these 
forms belong to the world as idea, it is indeed conceiv- 
able that even in the most universal forms of the idea, 
in that peculiar framework of the phenomenal world 
space and time, it may be possible to discern and estab- 
lish the fundamental type, intimation, and plan of what 
iills the forms. It seems to have been a dim notion of 
this that was the origin of the Cabala and all the mathe- 
matical philosophy of the Pythagoreans, and also of the • 
Chinese in Y-king. In the school of Schelling also, to 
which we have already referred, we find, among their 
efforts to bring to light the similarity among the pheno- 
mena of nature, several attempts (though rather unfor- 
tunate ones) to deduce laws of nature from the laws 
of pure space and time. However, one can never tell to 
what extent a man of genius will realise both endeavours. 

Now, although the difference between phenomenon 
and thing-in-itself is never lost sight of, and therefore 
the identity of the will which objectifies itself in all 
Ideas can never (because it has different grades of its 
objectification) be distorted to mean identity of the 
particular Ideas themselves in which it appears, so that, 
for example, chemical or electrical attraction can never be 
reduced to the attraction of gravitation, although this 
inner analogy is known, and the former may be regarded 
as, so to speak, higher powers of the latter, just as 
little does the similarity of the construction of all 
animals warrant us in mixing and identifying the 
species and explaining the more developed as mere 
variations of the less developed; and although, finally, 
the physiological functions are never to be reduced to 
chemical or physical processes, yet, in justification of this 
procedure, within certain limits, we may accept the fol- 
lowing observations as highly probable. 

If several of the phenomena of will in the lower 
grades of its objectification — that is, in unorganised nature 
—come into conflict because each of them, under the 


guidance of causality, seeks to possess a given portion of 
matter, there arises from the conflict the phenomenon of 
a higher Idea which prevails over all the less developed 
phenomena previously there, yet in such a way that it 
allows the essence of these to continue to exist in a 
subordinate manner, in that it takes up into itself from 
them something which is analogous to them. . Thi s 
process is only intelligible from the identity of the will 
which manifests itself in all the Ideas, and which is 
always striving after higher objectification. We thus 
see, for example, in the hardening of the bones, an 
unmistakable analogy to crystallisation, as the force 
which originally had possession of the chalk, although 
ossification is never to be reduced to crystallisation. 
The analogy shows itself in a weaker degree in the flesh 
becoming firm. The combination of humours in the 
animal body and secretion are also analogous to chemi- 
cal combination and separation. Indeed, the laws of 
chemistry are still strongly operative in this case, but 
subordinated, very much modified, and mastered by a 
higher Idea ; therefore mere chemical forces outside the 
organism will never afford us such humours ; but 

" Encheiresin naturae nennt es die Chemie, 
Spottet ihrer selbst und weiss nicht wie." 

The more developed Idea resulting from this victory over 
several lower Ideas or objectifications of will, gains an 
entirely new character by taking up into itself from every 
Idea over which it has prevailed a strengthened analogy. 
The will objectifies itself in a new, more distinct way. 
It originally appears in generatio cequivoca ; afterwards in 
assimilation to the given germ, organic moisture, plant, 
animal, man. Thus from the strife of lower phenomena 
the higher arise, swallowing them all up, but yet realis- 
ing in the higher grade the tendency of all the lower. 
Here, then, already the law applies — Serpens nisi set- 
pentem comederit non fit draco. 


I wish it had been possible for me to dispel by clear- 
ness of explanation the obscurity which clings to the 
subject of these thoughts ; but I see very well that the 
reader's own consideration of the matter must materially 
aid me if I am not to remain uncomprehended or mis- 
understood. According to the view I have expressed, 
the traces of chemical and physical modes of operation 
will indeed be found in the organism, but it can never 
be explained from them ; because it is by no means a 
phenomenon even accidentally brought about through the 
united actions of such forces, but a higher Idea which 
has overcome these lower ideas by subduing assimilation ; 
for the one will which objectifies itself in all Ideas always 
seeks the highest possible objectification, and has there- 
fore in this case given up the lower grades of its 
manifestation after a conflict, in order to appear in a 
higher grade, and one so much the more powerful. No 
victory without conflict : since the higher Idea or objec- 
tification of will can only appear through the conquest 
of the lower, it endures the opposition of these lower 
Ideas, which, although brought into subjection, still con- 
stantly strive to obtain an independent and complete 
expression of their being. The magnet that has attracted 
a piece of iron carries on a perpetual conflict with gravi- 
tation, which, as the lower objectification of will, has a 
prior right to the matter of the iron ; and in this constant 
battle the magnet indeed grows stronger, for the opposi- 
tion excites it, as it were, to greater effort. In the same 
way every manifestation of the will, including that which 
expresses itself in the human organism, wages a con- 
stant war against the many physical nnd chemical forces 
which, as lower Ideas, have a prior right to that matter. 
Thus the arm falls which for a while, overcoming gravity, 
we have held stretched out; thus the pleasing sensa- 
tion of health, which proclaims the victory of the Idea 
of the self-conscious organism over the physical and 
chemical laws, which originally governed the humours of 


the body, is so often interrupted, and is indeed always 
accompanied by greater or less discomfort, which arises 
from the resistance of these forces, and on account of 
which the vegetative part of our life is constantly attended 
by slight pain. Thus also digestion weakens all the ani- 
mal functions, because it requires the whole vital force to 
overcome the chemical forces of nature by assimilation. 
Hence also in general the burden of physical life, the 
necessity of sleep, and, finally, of death ; for at last these 
subdued forces of nature, assisted by circumstances, win 
back from the organism, wearied even by the constant 
victory, the matter it took from them, and attain to an 
unimpeded expression of their being. We may therefore 
say that every organism expresses the Idea of which it is 
the image, only after we have subtracted the part of its 
force which is expended in subduing the lower Ideas that 
strive with it for matter. This seems to have been 
running in the mind of Jacob Bohm when he says some- 
where that all the bodies of men and animals, and even 
all plants, are really half dead. According as the sub- 
jection in the organism of these forces of nature, which 
express the lower grades of the objectification of will, is 
more or less successful, the more or the less completely 
does it attain to the expression of its Idea ; that is to 
say, the nearer it is to the ideal or the further from it — 
the ideal of beauty in its species. 

Thus everywhere in nature we see strife, conflict, and 
alternation of victory, and in it we shall come to recognise 
more distinctly that variance with itself which is essential 
to the will. Every grade of the objectification of will 
fights for the matter, the space, and the time of the others. 
The permanent matter must constantly change its form ; 
for under the guidance of causality, mechanical, physical, 
chemical, and organic phenomena, eagerly striving to ap- 
pear, wrest the matter from each other, for each desires 
to reveal its own Idea. This strife may be followed through 
the whole of nature ; indeed nature exists only through it : 

192 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. ii. 

€i yap fir) i)v to veucos ev Tot? irpayiiacnv, ev av rjv diravra, 
a>? <t>rjaiv Efnre&otcXr)? (nam si non inesset in rebus con- 
tentio, unum omnia essent, ut ait Empedocles. Aria. 
Metaph., B. 5). Yet this strife itself is only the revela- 
tion of that variance with itself which is essential to the 
will. This universal conflict becomes most distinctly 
visible in the animal kingdom. For animals have the 
whole of the vegetable kingdom for their food, and even 
within the animal kingdom every beast is the prey and 
the food of another ; that is, the matter in which its Idea 
expresses itself must yield itself to the expression of 
another Idea, for each animal can only maintain its exist- 
ence by the constant destruction of some other. Thus 
the will to live everywhere preys upon itself, and in dif- 
ferent forms is its own nourishment, till finally the human 
race, because it subdues all the others, regards nature as 
a manufactory for its use. Yet even the human race, as 
we shall see in the Fourth Book, reveals in itself with 
most terrible distinctness this conflict, this variance with 
itself of the will, and we find homo homini hvpus. Mean- 
while we can recognise this strife, this subjugation, just 
as well in the lower grades of the objectification of will. 
Many insects (especially ichneumon-flies) lay their eggs 
on the skin, and even in the body of the larvae of other 
insects, whose slow destruction is the first work of the 
newly hatched brood. The young hydra, which grows 
like a bud out of the old one, and afterwards separates 
itself from it, fights while it is still joined to the old one 
for the prey that offers itself, so that the one snatches 
it out of the mouth of the other (Trembley, Polypod., ii 
p. no, and iii. p. 165). But the bulldog-ant of Aus- 
tralia affords us the most extraordinary example of this 
kind ; for if it is cut in two, a battle begins between the 
head and the tail. The head seizes the tail with its teeth, 
and the tail defends itself bravely by stinging the head : 
the battle may last for half an hour, until they die or are 
dragged away by other ants. This contest takes place 


every time the experiment is tried. (From a letter by 
Howitt in the W. Journal, reprinted in Galignani's Mes- 
senger, 17th November 1855.) On the banks of the 
Missouri one sometimes sees a mighty oak the stem and 
branches of which are so encircled, fettered, and interlaced 
by a gigantic wild vine, that it withers as if choked. The 
same thing shows itself in the lowest grades ; for example, 
when water and carbon are changed into vegetable sap, or 
vegetables or bread into blood by organic assimilation; 
and so also in every case in which animal secretion takes 
place, along with the restriction of chemical forces to a 
subordinate mode of activity. This also occurs in unor- 
ganised nature, when, for example, crystals in process of 
formation meet, cross, and mutually disturb each other to 
such an extent that they are unable to assume the pure 
crystalline form, so that almost every cluster of crystals 
is an image of such a conflict of will at this low grade of 
its objectification ; or again, when a magnet forces its 
magnetism upon iron, in order to express its Idea in it ; 
or when galvanism overcomes chemical affinity, decom- 
poses the closest combinations, and so entirely suspends 
the laws of chemistry that the acid of a decomposed salt 
at the negative pole must pass to the positive pole with- 
out combining with the alkalies through which it goes 
on its way, or turning red the litmus paper that touches 
it. On a large scale it shows itself in the relation between 
the central body and the planet, for although the planet 
is in absolute dependence, yet it always resists, just like 
the chemical forces in the organism; hence arises the 
constant tension between centripetal and centrifugal force, 
which keeps the globe in motion, and is itself an example 
of that universal essential conflict of the manifestation of 
will which we are considering. For as every body must 
be regarded as the manifestation of a will, and as will 
necessarily expresses itself as a struggle, the original con- 
dition of every world that is formed into a globe cannot 
be rest, but motion, a striving forward in boundless space 
vol. 1. N 



without rest and without end. Neither the law of inertia 
nor that of causality is opposed to this: for as, accord- 
in<* to the former, matter as such is alike indifferent 
to rest and motion, its original condition may just as 
well be the one as the other, therefore if we first find 
it in motion, we have just as little right to assume 
that this was preceded by a condition of rest, and to 
inquire into the cause of the origin of the motion, as, 
conversely, if we found it at rest, we would have to 
assume a previous motion and inquire into the cause of 
its suspension. It is, therefore, not needful to seek for a 
first impulse for centrifugal force, for, according to the 
hypothesis of Kant and Laplace, it is, in the case of the 
planets, the residue of the original rotation of the central 
body, from which the planets have separated themselves 
as it contracted. But to this central body itself motion 
is essential ; it always continues its rotation, and at the 
same time rushes forward in endless space, or perhaps circu- 
lates round a greater central body invisible to us. This 
view entirely agrees with the conjecture of astronomers that 
there is a central sun, and also with the observed advance 
of our whole solar system, and perhaps of the whole 
stellar system to which our sun belongs. From this we 
are finally led to assume a general advance of fixed stars, 
together with the central sun, and this certainly loses all 
meaning in boundless space (for motion in absolute space 
cannot be distinguished from rest), and becomes, as is 
already the case from its striving and aimless flight, an 
expression of that nothingness, that failure of all aim, 
which, at the close of this book, we shall be obliged to 
recognise in the striving of will in all its phenomena. 
Thus boundless space and endless time must be the most 
universal and essential forms of the collective phenomena 
of will, which exist for the expression of its whole being. 
Lastly, we can recognise that conflict which we are con- 
sidering of all phenomena of will against each other in 
simple matter regarded as such ; for the real character- 


istic of matter is correctly expressed by Kant as repulsive 
and attractive force ; so that even crude matter has its 
existence only in the strife of conflicting forces. If we 
abstract from all chemical differences in matter, or go so 
far back in the chain of causes and effects that as yet 
there is no chemical difference, there remains mere 
matter, — the world rounded to a globe, whose life, i.e., 
objectification of will, is now constituted by the conflict 
between attractive and repulsive forces, the former as 
gravitation pressing from all sides towards the centre, 
the latter as impenetrability always opposing the former 
either as rigidity or elasticity ; and this constant pressure 
and resistance may be regarded as the objectivity of will 
in its very lowest grade, and even there it expresses its 

Wg-, should see the will express itself here in the 
lowest grade as blind striving, an obscure, inarticulate 
impulse, far from susceptible of being directly known. 
It is the simplest and the weakest mode of its objectifi- 
cation. But it appears as this blind and unconscious 
striving in the whole of unorganised nature, in all those 
original forces of which it is the work of physics and 
chemistry to discover and to study the laws, and each of 
which manifests itself to us in millions of phenomena 
which are exactly similar and regular, and show no 
trace of individual character, but are mere multiplicity 
through space and time, i.e., through the principium indi- 
viduationis, as a picture is multiplied through the facets of 
a glass. 

From grade to grade objectifying itself more distinctly, 
yet still completely without consciousness as an obscure 
striving force, the will acts in the vegetable kingdom 
also, in which the bond of its phenomena consists no 
longer properly of causes, but of stimuli ; and, finally, 
also in the vegetative part of the animal phenomenon, in 
the production and maturing of the animal, and in sus- 
taining its inner economy, in which the manifestation of 


will is still always necessarily determined by stimuli. 
The ever-ascending grades of the objectification of will 
bring us at last to the point at which the individual that 
expresses the Idea could no longer receive food for its 
assimilation through mere movement following upon 
stimuli For such a stimulus must be waited for, but 
the food has now come to be of a more special and definite 
kind, and with the ever-increasing multiplicity of the 
individual phenomena, the crowd and confusion has be- 
come so great that they interfere with each other, and 
the chance of the individual that is moved merely by 
stimuli and must wait for its food would be too un- 
favourable. JExom the point, therefore, at which the 
animal has delivered itself from the egg or the womb in 
which it vegetated without consciousness, its food must 
be sought out and selected For this purpose movement 
following upon motives, and therefore consciousness, be- 
comes necessary, and consequently it appears as an agent* 
firiXavT), called in at this stage of the objectification of will 
for the conservation of the individual and the propagation 
of the species. It appears represented by the brain or a 
large ganglion, just as every other effort or determination 
of the will which objectifies itself is represented by an |j 
organ, that is to say, manifests itself for the idea as an jj 
orgam* But with this means of assistance, this /Mrrxavrf, 
ttie world as idea comes into existence at a stroke, with 
gill its forms, object and subject, time, space, multiplicity, 
and causality. The world now shows its second side. 
Till now mere will, it becomes also idea, object of the 
knowing subject The will, which up to this point 
followed its tendency in the dark with unerring certainty, 
has at this grade kindled for itself a light as a means 
which became necessary for getting rid of the disad-j 
vantage which arose from the throng and the complicated I 

1 Of. Chap. xxii. of the Supplement, 46 et teq. t and pp. 63-72 of th« 1 

and also my work "Ueber den Willen second, or p. 48 et seq., and pp. | 

in der Natur," p. 54 et teq., and 69-77 of the third edition. 
pp. 70-79 of the first edition, or p. 


nature of its manifestations, and which would have 
accrued precisely to the most perfect of them. The 
hitherto infallible certainty and regularity with which 
it worked in unorganised and merely vegetative nature, 
rested upon the fact that it alone was active in its 
original nature, as blind impulse, will, without assistance, 
and also without interruption, from a second and entirely 
different world, the world as idea, which is indeed only the 
image of its own inner being, but is yet of quite another 
nature, and now encroaches on the connected whole of its 
phenomena. Hence its infallible certainty comes to an 
end. Animals are already exposed to illusion, to deception. 
They have, however, merely ideas of perception, no con- 
ceptions, no reflection, and they are therefore bound to 
the present; they cannot have regard for the future. It 
seems as if this knowledge without reason was not in all 
cases sufficient for its end, and at times required, as it were, 
some assistance. For the very remarkable phenomenon 
presents itself, that the blind working of the will and the 
activity enlightened by knowledge encroach in a most 
astonishing manner upon each other's spheres in two kinds 
of phenomena. In the one case we find in the very midst 
of those actions of animals which are guided by per- 
ceptive knowledge and its motives one kind of action 
which is accomplished apart from these, and thus through 
the necessity of the blindly acting will. I refer to those 
mechanical instincts which are guided by no motive or 
knowledge, and which yet have the appearance of per- 
forming their work from abstract rational motives. The 
other case, which is opposed to this, is that in which, on 
the contrary, the light of knowledge penetrates into the 
workshop of the blindly active will, and illuminates the 
vegetative functions of the human organism. I mean 
clairvoyance. Finally, when the will has attained to the 
highest grade of its objectification, that knowledge of the 
understanding given to brutes to which the senses supply 
the data, out of which there arises mere perception con- 

198 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. il 

fined to what is immediately present, does not suffice. 
That complicated, many-sided, imaginative being, man, 
with his many needs, and exposed as he is to innumerable 
dangers, must, in order to exist, be lighted by a double 
knowledge ; a higher power, as it were, of perceptive 
knowledge must be given him, and also reason, as the 
faculty of framing abstract conceptions. With this there 
has appeared reflection, surveying the future and the past, 
and, as a consequence, deliberation, care, the power of 
premeditated action independent of the present, and 
finally, the full and distinct consciousness of one's own 
deliberate volition as such. Now if with mere know- 
ledge of perception there arose the possibility of illusion 
and deception, by which the previous infallibility of the 
blind striving of will was done away with, so that mecha- 
nical and other instincts, as expressions of unconscious 
will, had to lend their help in the midst of those that 
were conscious, with the entrance of reason that cer- 
tainty and infallibility of the expressions of will (which 
at the other extreme in unorganised nature appeared as 
strict conformity to law) is almost entirely lost ; instinct 
disappears altogether ; deliberation, which is supposed to 
take the place of everything else, begets (as was shown 
in the First Book) irresolution and uncertainty ; then 
error becomes possible, and in many cases obstructs the 
adequate objectification of the will in action. For although 
in the character the will has already taken its definite 
and unchangeable bent or direction, in accordance with 
which volition, when occasioned by the presence of a motive, 
invariably takes place, yet error can falsify its expressions, 
for it introduces illusive motives that take the place of 
the real ones which they resemble ; * as, for example, 
when superstition forces on a man imaginary motives 
which impel him to a course of action directly opposed 

1 The Scholastics therefore said dum e$sc cor/nitum. Cf. Suarez, Disp. 
very truly : Causa finalit movet non Metaph. disp. xxiii., sea 7 and 8. 
icamdum suum esse reaXt, $ed secun- 


to the way in which the will would otherwise express 
itself in the given circumstances. Agamemnon slays his 
daughter ; a miser dispenses alms, out of pure egotism, in 
the hope that he will some day receive an hundred-fold ; 
and so on. 

Thus knowledge generally, rational as well as merely 
sensuous, proceeds originally from the will itself, belongs 
to the inner being of the higher grades of its objectifica- 
tion as a mere iiri^avq, a means of supporting the indivi- 
dual and the species, just like any organ of the body. 
Originally destined for the service of the will for the 
accomplishment of its aims, it remains almost throughout 
entirely subjected to its service : it is so in all brutes and 
in almost all men. Yet we shall see in the Third Book 
how in certain individual men knowledge can deliver 
itself from this bondage, throw off its yoke, and, free from 
all the aims of will, exist purely for itself, simply as a 
clear mirror of the world, which is the source of art. 
Finally, in the Fourth Book, we shall see how, if this 
kind of knowledge reacts on the will, it can bring about 
self-surrender, i.e., resignation, which is the final goal, and 
indeed the inmost nature of all virtue and holiness, and 
is deliverance from the world. 

§ 28. We have considered the great multiplicity and 
diversity of the phenomena in which the will objectifies 
itself, and we have seen their endless and implacable 
strife with each other. Yet, according to the whole dis- 
cussion up to this point, the will itself, as thing-in-itself, 
is by no means included in that multiplicity and change. 
The diversity of the (Platonic) Ideas, i.e., grades of 
objectification, the multitude of individuals in which 
each of these expresses itself, the struggle of forms for 
matter, — all this does not concern it, but is only the 
manner of its objectification, and only through this has 
an indirect relation to it, by virtue of which it belongs 
to the expression of the nature of will for the idea. ^As 
the magic-lantern shows many different pictures, which 

200 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. ii. 

are all made visible by one and the same light, so in 
all the multifarious phenomena which fill the world toge- 
ther or throng after each other as events, only one ivill 
manifests itself, of which everything is the visibility, the 
objectivity, and which remains unmoved in the midst of 
this change; it alone is thing-in-itself ; all objects are 
manifestations, or, to speak the language of Kant, pheno- 
mena. Although in man, as (Platonic) Idea, the will 
finds its clearest and fullest objectification, yet man 
alone could not express its being. In order to manifest 
the full significance of the will, the Idea of man would 
need to appear, not alone and sundered from everything 
else, but accompanied by the whole series of grades, 
down through all the forms of animals, through the 
vegetable kingdom to unorganised nature. All these 
supplement each other in the complete objectification of 
will ; they are as much presupposed by the Idea of man 
as the blossoms of a tree presuppose leaves, branches, 
stem, and root; they form a pyramid, of which man is 
the apex. If fond of similes, one might also say that 
their manifestations accompany that of man as neces- 
sarily as the full daylight is accompanied by all the 
gradations of twilight, through which, little by little, it 
loses itself in darkness ; or one might call them the echo 
of man, and say : Animal and plant are the descending 
fifth and third of man, the inorganic kingdom is the lower 
octave. The full truth of this last comparison will only 
become clear to us when, in the following book, we 
attempt to fathom the deep significance of music, and see 
how a connected, progressive melody, made up of high, 
quick notes, may be regarded as in some sense express- 
ing the life and efforts of man connected by reflection, 
while the unconnected complemental notes and the slow 
bass, which make up the harmony necessary to perfect 
the music, represent the rest of the animal kingdom and 
the whole of nature that is without knowledge. But of 
this in its own place, where it will not sound so para- 


doxical. We find, however, that the inner necessity of 
the gradation of its manifestations, which is inseparable 
from the adequate objectification of the will, is expressed 
by an outer necessity in the whole of these manifestations 
themselves, by reason of which man has need of the 
beasts for his support, the beasts in their grades have 
need of each other as well as of plants, which in their 
turn require the ground, water, chemical elements and 
their combinations, the planet, the sun, rotation and 
motion round the sun, the curve of the ellipse, &c, &c. 
At bottom this results from the fact that the will must 
live on itself, for there exists nothing beside it, and it is 
a hungry wilL Hence arise eager pursuit, anxiety, and 

It is only the knowledge of the unity of will as 
thing-in-itself, in the endless diversity and multiplicity 
of the phenomena, that can afford us the true explana- 
tion of that wonderful, unmistakable analogy of all the 
productions of nature, that family likeness on account of 
which we may regard them as variations on the same 
ungiven theme. So in like measure, through the distinct 
and thoroughly comprehended knowledge of that har- 
mony, that essential connection of all the parts of the 
world, that necessity of their gradation which we have 
just been considering, we shall obtain a true and suffi- 
cient insight into the inner nature and meaning of the 
undeniable teleology of all organised productions of nature, 
which, indeed, we presupposed a priori, when consider- 
ing and investigating them. 

.Ihis, teleology is of a twofold description ; sometimes 
an inner teleology, that is, an agreement of all the parts 
of a particular organism, so ordered that the sustenance 
of the individual and the species results from it, and 
therefore presents itself as the end of that disposition or 
arrangement. Sometimes, however, there is an outward 
teleology, a relation of unorganised to organised nature in 
general, or of particular parts of organised nature to each 

202 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. ii. 

other, which makes the maintenance of the whole of 
organised nature, or of the particular animal species, 
possible, and therefore presents itself to our judgment as 
the means to this £ncj. 

Inner teleology is connected with the scheme of our 
work in the following way. If, in accordance with what 
has been said, all variations of form in nature, and all 
multiplicity of individuals, belong not to the will itself, 
but merely to its objectivity and the form of this objec- 
tivity, it necessarily follows that the will is indivisible 
and is present as a whole in every manifestation, although 
the grades of its objectification, the (Platonic) Ideas, are 
very different from each other. We may, for the sake of 
simplicity, regard these different Ideas as in themselves 
individual and simple acts of the will, in which it ex- 
presses its nature more or less. Individuals, however, are 
again manifestations of the Ideas, thus of these acts, in 
time, space, and multiplicity. Now, in the lowest grades 
of objectivity, such an act (or an Idea) retains its unity 
in the manifestation ; while, in order to appear in higher 
grades, it requires a whole series of conditions and de- 
velopments in time, which only collectively express its 
nature completely. Thus, for example the Idea that 
reveals itself in any general force of nature has always 
one single expression, although it presents itself differently 
according to the external relations that are present: 
otherwise its identity could not be proved, for this is 
done by abstracting the diversity that arises merely from 
external relations. In the same way the crystal has only 
one manifestation of life, crystallisation, which afterwards 
has its fully adequate and exhaustive expression in the 
rigid form, the corpse of that momentary life. The plant, 
however, does not express the Idea, whose phenomenon 
it is, at once and through a single manifestation, but in a 
succession of developments of its organs in time. The 
animal not only develops its organism in the same manner, 
in a succession of forms which are often very different 


(metamorphosis), but this form itself, although it is al- 
ready objectivity of will at this grade, does not attain to 
a full expression of its Idea. This expression must be 
completed through the actions of the animal, in which 
its empirical character, common to the whole species, 
manifests itself, and only then does it become the full 
revelation of the Idea, a revelation which presupposes 
the particular organism as its first condition. In the case 
of man, the empirical character is peculiar to every indivi- 
dual (indeed, as we shall see in the Fourth Book, even to 
the extent of supplanting entirely the character of the 
species, through the self-surrender of the whole will). 
That which is known as the empirical character, through 
the necessary development in time, and the division into 
particular actions that is conditioned by it, is, when we 
abstract from this temporal form of the manifestation the 
intelligible character, according to the expression of Kant, 
who shows his undying merit especially in establishing 
this distinction and explaining the relation between 
freedom and necessity, i.e., between the will as thing- 
in-itself and its manifestations in time. 1 Thus the 
intelligible character coincides with the Idea, or, more 
accurately, with the original act of will which reveals 
itself in it. So far then, not only the empirical 
character of every man, but also that of every species 
of animal and plant, and even of every original force 
of unorganised nature, is to be regarded as the mani- 
festation of an intelligible character, that is, of a time- 
less, indivisible act of will. I should like here to draw 
attention in passing to the naivete* with which every 
plant expresses and lays open its whole character in its 
mere form, reveals its whole being and will. This is 

1 Cf. "Critique of Pure Reason, tique of Practical Reason," fourth 

Solution of the Cosmological Ideas edition, pp. 169-179; Rosenkranz' 

of the Totality of the Deduction of edition, p. 224 and following. Cf. 

the Events in the Universe," pp. my Essay on the Principle of Sum- 

560-586 of the fifth, and p. 532 and oient Reason, § 43. 
following of first edition; and "Cri- 

204 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. ii. 

why the physiognomy of plants is so interesting ; while 
in order to know an animal in its Idea, it is necessary 
to observe the course of its action. As for man, he 
must be fully investigated and tested, for reason makes 
him capable of a high degree of dissimulation. The 
beast is as much more naive than the man as the plant 
is more naive than the beast. In the beast we see the 
will to live more naked, as it were, than in the man, in 
whom it is clothed with so much knowledge, and is, 
moreover, so veiled through the capacity for dissimula- 
tion, that it is almost only by chance, and here and 
there, that its true nature becomes apparent. In the 
plant it shows itself quite naked, but also much weaker, 
as mere blind striving for existence without end or 
aim. For the plant reveals its whole being at the first 
glance, and with complete innocence, which does not 
suffer from the fact that it carries its organs of genera- 
tion exposed to view on its upper surface, though in all 
animals they have been assigned to the most hidden 
part. This innocence of the plant results from its com- 
plete want of knowledge. Guilt does not lie in willing, 
out in willing with knowledge. Every plant speaks to 
us first of all of its home, of the climate, and the nature 
of the ground in which it has grown. Therefore, even 
those who have had little practice easily tell whether 
an exotic plant belongs to the tropical or the temperate 
zone, and whether it grows in water, in marshes, on 
mountain, or on moorland. Besides this, however, every 
plant expresses the special will of its species, and says 
something that cannot be uttered in any other tongue. 
But we must now apply what has been said to the 
teleological consideration of the organism, so far as it 
concerns its inner design. If in unorganised nature 
the Idea, which is everywhere to be regarded as a single 
act of will, reveals itself also in a single manifestation 
which is always the same, and thus one may say that 
here the empirical character directly partakes of the 


unity of the intelligible, coincides, as it were, with it, so 
that no inner design can show itself here ; if, on the 
contrary, all organisms express their Ideas through a 
series of successive developments, conditioned by a 
multiplicity of co-existing parts, and thus only the 
sum of the manifestations of the empirical character 
collectively constitute the expression of the intelli- 
gible character ; this necessary co-existence of the 
parts and succession of the stages of development 
does not destroy the unity of the appearing Idea, the 
act of will which expresses itself; nay, rather this 
unity finds its expression in the necessary relation 
and connection of the parts and stages of development 
with each other, in accordance with the law of causality. 
Since it is the will which is one, indivisible, and there- 
fore entirely in harmony with itself, that reveals itself 
in the whole Idea as in act, its manifestation, although 
broken up into a number of different parts and condi- 
tions, must yet show this unity again in the thorough 
agreement of all of these. This is effected by a necessary 
relation and dependence of all the parts upon each other, 
by means of which the unity of the Idea is re-established 
in the manifestation. In accordance with this, we now 
recognise these different parts and functions of the 
organism as related to each other reciprocally as means 
and end, but the organism itself as the final end of all. 
Consequently, neither the breaking up of the Idea, which 
in itself is simple, into the multiplicity of the parts and 
conditions of the organism, on the one hand, nor, on the 
other hand, the re-establishment of its unity through the 
necessary connection of the parts and functions which 
arises from the fact that they are the cause and effect, the 
means and end, of each other, is peculiar and essential 
to the appearing will as such, to the thing-in-itself, but 
only to its manifestation in space, time, and casuality 
(mere modes of the principle of sufficient reason, the 
form of the phenomenon). They belong to the world as 

2o6 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. ii 

idea, not to the world as will; they belong to the way 
in which the will becomes object, i.e., idea at this grade 
of its objectivity. Every one who has grasped the mean- 
ing of this discussion — a discussion which is perhaps 
somewhat difficult— will now fully understand the doctrine 
of Kant, which follows from it, that both the design of 
organised and the conformity to law of unorganised 
nature are only introduced by our understanding, and 
therefore both belong only to the phenomenon, not to the 
thing-in-itself. The surprise, which was referred to 
above, at the infallible constancy of the conformity to 
law of unorganised nature, is essentially the same as the 
surprise that is excited by design in organised nature ; 
for in both cases what we wonder at is only the sight of 
the original unity of the Idea, which, for the phenome- 
non, has assumed the form of multiplicity and diversity. 1 
As regards the second kind of teleology, according to 
the division made above, the outer design, which shows 
itself, not in the inner economy of the organisms, but in 
the support and assistance they receive from without, 
both from unorganised nature and from each other; its 
general explanation is to be found in the exposition we 
have just given. For the whole world, with all its phe- 
nomena, is the objectivity of the one indivisible will, the 
Idea, which is related to all other Ideas as harmony is 
related to the single voice. Therefore that unity of the 
will must show itself also in the agreement of all its 
manifestations. But we can very much increase the 
clearness of this insight if we go somewhat more closely 
into the manifestations of that outer teleology and agree- 
ment of the different parts of nature with each other, an 
inquiry which will also throw some light on the foregoing 
exposition. We shall best attain this end by consider- 
ing the following analogy. 

The character of each individual man, so far as it is 

« Cf. "Ueber den Willen in der Natur," at the end of the section on 
Comparative Anatomy. 


thoroughly individual, and not entirely included in that 
of the species, may be regarded as a special Idea, corre- 
sponding to a special act of the objectification of will. 
This act itself would then be his intelligible character, 
and his empirical character would be the manifestation of 
it. The empirical character is entirely determined through 
the intelligible, which is without ground, i.e., as thing-in- 
itself is not subordinated to the principle of sufficient 
reason (the form of the phenomenon). The empirical char- 
acter must in the course of life afford us the express image 
of the intelligible, and can only become what the nature of 
the latter demands. But this property extends only to the 
essential, not to the unessential in the course of life to 
which it applies. To this unessential belong the de- 
tailed events and actions which are the material in which 
the empirical character shows itself. These are deter- 
mined by outward circumstances, which present the 
motives upon which the character reacts according to its 
nature ; and as they may be very different, the outward 
form of the manifestation of the empirical character, that 
is, the definite actual or historical form of the course of 
life, will have to accommodate itself to their influence. 
Now this form may be very different, although what is 
essential to the manifestation, its content, remains the 
same. Thus, for example it is immaterial whether a man 
plays for nuts or for crowns ; but whether a man cheats 
or plays fairly, that is the real matter ; the latter is de- 
termined by the intelligible character, the former by 
outward circumstances. As the same theme may be 
expressed in a hundred different variations, so the same 
character may be expressed in a hundred very different lives. 
But various as the outward influence may be, the empi- 
rical character which expresses itself in the course of life 
must yet, whatever form it takes, accurately objectify 
the intelligible character, for the latter adapts its objec- 
tification to the given material of actual circumstances. 
We have now to assume something analogous to the 

2 o8 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. ii. 

influence of outward circumstances upon the life that is 
determined in essential matters by the character, if we 
desire to understand how the will, in the original act of 
its objectification, determines the various Ideas in which 
it objectifies itself, that is, the different forms of natural 
existence of every kind, among which it distributes its 
objectification, and which must therefore necessarily have 
a relation to each other in the manifestation. We must 
assume that between all these manifestations offlie one 
will there existed a universal and reciprocal adaptation 
and accommodation of themselves to each other, by which, 
however, as we shall soon see more clearly, all time- 
determination is to be excluded, for the Idea lies outside 
time. In accordance with this, every manifestation must 
have adapted itself to the surroundings into which it en- 
tered, and these again must have adapted themselves to it, 
although it occupied a much later position in time ; and we 
see this consensus natures everywhere. Every plant is there- 
fore adapted to its soil and climate, every animal to its 
element and the prey that will be its food, and is also in 
some way protected, to a certain extent, against its natural 
enemy ; the eye is adapted to the light and its refrangi- 
bility, the lungs and the blood to the air, the air-bladder 
of fish to water, the eye of the seal to the change of the 
medium in which it must see, the water-pouch in the 
stomach of the camel to the drought of the African 
deserts, the sail of the nautilus to the wind that is to 
drive its little bark, and so on down to the most special 
and astonishing outward adaptations. 1 We must abstract 
however here from all temporal relations, for these can 
only concern the manifestation of the Idea, not the Idea 
itself. Accordingly this kind of explanation must also 
be used retrospectively, and we must not merely admit 
that every species accommodated itself to the given en- 
vironment, but also that this environment itself, which 
preceded it in time, had just as much regard for the being 

1 Cf. "Ueber den Willen in die Natur," the section on Comparative 


that would some time come into it. For it is one and 
the same will that objectifies itself in the whole world; 
it knows no time, for this form of the principle of suffi- 
cient reason does not belong to it, nor to its original 
objectivity, the Ideas, but only to the way in which 
these are known by the individuals who themselves are 
transitory, i.e. t to the manifestation of the Ideas. Thus, 
time has no significance for our present examination of 
the manner in which the objectification of the will dis- 
tributes itself among the Ideas, and the Ideas whose 
manifestations entered into the course of time earlier, 
according to the law of causality, to which as phenomena 
they are subject, have no advantage over those whose 
manifestation entered later ; nay rather, these last are the 
completest objectifications of the will, to which the earlier 
manifestations must adapt themselves just as much as 
they must adapt themselves to the earlier. Thus the 
course of the planets, the tendency to the ellipse, the 
rotation of the earth, the division of land and sea, the 
atmosphere, light, warmth, and all such phenomena, 
which are in nature what bass is in harmony, adapted 
themselves in anticipation of the coming species of 
living creatures of which they were to become the 
supporter and sustainer. In the same way the ground 
adapted itself to the nutrition of plants, plants adapted 
themselves to the nutrition of animals, animals to that 
of other animals, and conversely they all adapted them- 
selves to the nutrition of the ground. All the parts of 
nature correspond to each other, for it is one will that 
appears in them all, but the course of time is quite 
foreign to its original and only adequate objectification 
(this expression will be explained in the following book), 
the Ideas. Even now, when the species have only to 
sustain themselves, no longer to come into existence, we 
see here and there some such forethought of nature ex- 
tending to the future, and abstracting as it were from 
the process of time, a self- adaptation of what is to what 
vol. L 

210 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. il 

is yet to come. The bird builds the nest for the young 
which it does not yet know ; the beaver constructs a 
dam the object of which is unknown to it ; ants, mar- 
mots, and bees lay in provision for the winter they have 
never experienced ; the spider and the ant-lion make 
snares, as if with deliberate cunning, for future unknown 
prey ; insects deposit their eggs where the coming brood 
finds future nourishment. In the spring-time the female 
flower of the dicecian valisneria unwinds the spirals of its 
stalk, by which till now it was held at the bottom of the 
water, and thus rises to the surface. Just then the male 
flower, which grows on a short stalk from the bottom, 
breaks away, and so, at the sacrifice of its life, reaches 
the surface, where it swims about in search of the female. 
The latter is fructified, and then draws itself down again 
to the bottom by contracting its spirals, and there the 
fruit grows. 1 I must again refer here to the larva of the 
male stag-beetle, which makes the hole in the wood for 
its metamorphosis as big again as the female does, in 
order to have room for its future horns. The instinct of 
animals in general gives us the best illustration of what 
remains of teleology in nature. For as instinct is an 
action, like that which is guided by the conception of an 
end, and yet is entirely without this ; so all construction 
of nature resembles that which is guided by the concep- 
tion of an end, and yet is entirely without it. For in 
the outer as in the inner teleology of nature, what we 
are obliged to think as means and end is, in every case, 
the manifestation of the unity of the one will so thoroughly 
agreeing with itself, which has assumed multiplicity in 
space and time for our manner of knowing. 

The reciprocal adaptation and self-accommodation of 
phenomena that springs from this unity cannot, however, 
annul the inner contradiction which appears in the 
universal conflict of nature described above, and which 

1 Chatin, Sur la Valisneria Spiralis, in the Oomptes Rendus de l'Acad. 
de Sc., No. 13, 1855. 


is essential to the will. That harmony goes only so fai 
as to render possible the duration of the world and the 
different kinds of existences in it, which without it 
would long since have perished. Therefore it only ex- 
tends to the continuance of the species, and the general 
conditions of life, but not to that of the individual. If, 
then, by reason of that harmony and accommodation, the 
species in organised nature and the universal forces in 
unorganised nature continue to exist beside each other, 
and indeed support each other reciprocally, on the other 
hand, the inner contradiction of the will which objectifies 
itself in all these ideas shows itself in the ceaseless inter- 
necine war of the individuals of these species, and in the 
constant struggle of the manifestations of these natural forces 
with each other, as we pointed out above. The scene and 
the object of this conflict is matter, which they try to wrest 
from each other, and also space and time, the combination 
of which through the form of causality is, in fact, matter, 
as was explained in the First Book. 1 

§ 29. I here conclude the second principal division of 
my exposition, in the hope that, so far as is possible in 
the case of an entirely new thought, which cannot be 
quite free from traces of the individuality in which it 
originated, I have succeeded in conveying to the reader 
the complete certainty that this world in which we live 
and have our being is in its whole nature through and 
through will, and at the same time through and through 
idea : that this idea, as such, already presupposes a form, 
object and subject, is therefore relative; and if we ask 
what remains if we take away this form, and all those 
forms which are subordinate to it, and which express the 
principle of sufficient reason, the answer must be that as 
something Mo genere different from idea, this can be 
nothing but will, which is thus properly the thing-in- 
itself Every one finds that he himself is this will, in 
which the real nature of the world consists, and he also 

1 Cf. Chaps. xxvi. and xxvii. of the Supplement. 


finds that he is the knowing subject, whose idea the 
whole world is, the world which exists only in relation 
to his consciousness, as its necessary supporter. Every 
one is thus himself in a double aspect the whole world, 
the microcosm; finds both sides whole and complete 
in himself. And what he thus recognises as his own 
real being also exhausts the being of the whole world— 
the macrocosm ; thus the world, like man, is through 
and through vrill, and through and through idea, and 
nothing more than this. So we see the philosophy of 
Thales, which concerned the macrocosm, unite at this 
point with that of Socrates, which dealt with the micro- 
cosm, for the object of both is found to be the same. But 
all the knowledge that has been communicated in the 
two first books will gain greater completeness, and con- 
sequently greater certainty, from the two following books, 
in which I hope that several questions that have more 
or less distinctly arisen in the course of our work will 
also be sufficiently answered. 

In the meantime one such question may be more particu- 
larly considered, for it can only properly arise so long as 
one has not fully penetrated the meaning of the foregoing 
exposition, and may so far serve as an illustration of it 
It is this : Every will is a will towards something, has 
an object, an end of its willing ; what then is the final 
end, or towards what is that will striving that is ex- 
hibited to us as the being-in-itself of the world ? This 
question rests, like so many others, upon the confusion 
of the thing-in-itself with the manifestation. The prin- 
ciple of sufficient reason, of which the law of motivation 
is also a form, extends only to the latter, not to the 
former. It is only of phenomena, of individual things, 
that a ground can be given, never of the will itself, nor 
of the Idea in which it adequately objectifies itself. So 
then of every particular movement or change of any 
kind in nature, a cause is to be sought, that is, a condi- 
tion that of necessity produced it, but never of the 


natural force itself which is revealed in this and in- 
numerable similar phenomena ; and it is therefore simple 
misunderstanding, arising from want of consideration, to 
ask for a cause of gravity, electricity, and so on. Only 
if one had somehow shown that gravity and electricity were 
not original special forces of nature, but only the mani- 
festations of a more general force already known, would 
it be allowable to ask for the cause which made this force 
produce the phenomena of gravity or of electricity here. 
All this has been explained at length above. In the 
same way every particular act of will of a knowing 
individual (which is itself only a manifestation of will as 
the thing-in-itself) has necessarily a motive without which 
that act would never have occurred ; but just as material 
causes contain merely the determination that at this time, 
in this place, and in this matter, a manifestation of this 01 
that natural force must take place, so the motive detery 
mines only the act of will of a knowing being, at this 
time, in this place, and under these circumstances, as a 
particular act, but by no means determines that that 
t>eing wills in general or wills in this manner; this is 
the expression of his intelligible character, which, as will 
itself, the thing-in-itself, is without ground, for it lies 
outside the province of the principle of sufficient reason. 
Therefore every man has permanent aims and motivestry 
which he guides his conduct, and he can always give an 
account of his particular actions; but if he were asked 
why he wills at all, or why in general he wills to exist, 
he would have no answer, and the question would indeed 
seem to him meaningless ;% and this would be just the ex- 
pression of his consciousness that he himself is nothing 
but will, whose willing stands by itself and requires more 
particular determination by motives only in its individual 
acts at each point of time. 

In fact, freedom from all aim, from all limits, belongs 
o the nature of the will, which is an endless striving. 
This was already touched on above in the reference to 



centrifugal force. It also discloses itself in its simplest 
form in the lowest grade of the objectification of will, in 
gravitation, which we see constantly exerting itself, 
though a final goal is obviously impossible for it. For 
if, according to its will, all existing matter were collected 
in one mass, yet within this mass gravity, ever striving 
towards the centre, would still wage war with impene- 
trability as rigidity or elasticity. The tendency of 
matter can therefore only be confined, never completed 
or appeased. But this is precisely the case with all 
tendencies of all phenomena of will. Every attained 
end is also the beginning of a new course, and so on ad 
infinitum. The plant raises its manifestation from the 
seed through the stem and the leaf to the blossom and the 
fruit, which again is the beginning of a new seed, a new 
individual, that runs through the old course, and so on 
through endless time. Such also is the life of the 
animal ; procreation is its highest point, and after attain- 
ing to it, the life of the first individual quickly or 
slowly sinks, while a new life ensures to nature the 
endurance of the species and repeats the same pheno- 
mena. Indeed, the constant renewal of the matter of 
every organism is also to be regarded as merely the 
manifestation of this continual pressure and change, and 
physiologists are now ceasing to hold that it is the neces- 
sary reparation of the matter wasted in motion, for the 
possible wearing out of the machine can by no means 
be equivalent to the support it is constantly receiving 
through nourishment. .Eternal becoming, endless flux*/ 
characterises the revelation of the inner nature of will 
Finally, the same thing shows itself in human endeavours 
and desires, which always delude us by presenting their 
v satisfaction as the final end of will. As soon as we 
attain to them they no longer appear the same, and 
therefore they soon grow stale, are forgotten, and though 
not openly disowned, are yet always thrown aside as 
vanished illusions. We are fortunate enough if there 


still remains something to wish for and to strive after, 
that the game may be kept up of constant transition 
from desire to satisfaction, and from satisfaction to a 
new desire, the rapid course of which is called happiness, 
and the slow course sorrow, and does not sink into that 
stagnation that shows itself in fearful ennui that paralyses 
life, vain yearning without a definite object, deadening 
languor. ^According to all this, when the will is en- 
lightened by knowledge, it always knows what it wilty^ 
now and here, never what it wills in general ; every 
^particular act of will has its end, the whole will has 
none ; just as every particular phenomenon of nature is 
determined by a sufficient cause so far as concerns its 
appearance in this place at this time, but the force which 
manifests itself in it has no general cause, for it belongs 
to the thing-in-itself, to the groundless will. The single 
example of self-knowledge of the will as a whole is the 
idea as a whole, the whole world of perception. It is 
the objectification, the revelation, the mirror of the will 
What the will expresses in it will be the subject of oui 
further consideration. 1 

1 Of. Chap, xxviii. of the Supplement. 




Tl rb 6r fikv del, yheaiv <5e oik ?x ov \ Ka ^ T ^ T0 ytypouevov p.h ko) 
airoWvfxcvov, dVrws de ovMttot€ 6v. — IIAATOJJ 

( 219 ) 


§ 30. In the First Book the world was explained as 
v/inere idea, object for a subject. In the Second Book we 
considered it from its other side, and found that in this 
aspect it is will, which proved to be simply that which 
this world is besides being idea. In accordance with; 
this knowledge we called the world as idea, both as a 
whole and in its parts, the dbjectification of will, which 
therefore means the will become object, i.e., idea. 
Further, we remember that this objectification of will 
was found to have many definite grades, in which, with 
gradually increasing distinctness and completeness, the 
nature of will appears in the idea, that is to say, presents 
itself as object. In these grades we already recognised 
the Platonic Ideas, for the grades are just the determined 
species, or the original unchanging forms and qualities of 
all natural bodies, both organised and unorganised, and 
also the general forces which reveal themselves according 
to natural laws. These Ideas, then, as a whole express 
themselves in innumerable individuals and particulars, 
"and are related to these as archetypes to their copies. 
The multiplicity of such individuals is only conceivable 
through time and space, their appearing and passing 
away through causality, and in all these forms we recog- 
nise merely the different modes of thfi piw-ip 1 * nf 
suffi cient reason , which i«JJ2fl n1t.ima.te principle of all 
that is finit e, of all individual existence, and the univer- 
sal form of the idea as it appears in the knowledge of 
the individual as such. The Platonic Idea, on the other 


y hand, does not come under this principle, and has there- 
fore neither multiplicity nor change. While the indi- 
viduals in which it expresses itself are innumerable, and 
unceasingly come into being and pass away, it remains 
unchanged as one and the same, and the principle of 
sufficient reason has for it no meaning. As, however, 
K/hisMs the form under which all knowledge of the subject 
comes, so far as the subject knows as an individual, the 
Ideas lie quite outside the sphere of its knowledge. If, 

(therefore, the Ideas are to become objects of knowledge, 
this can only happen by transcending the individuality 
of the knowing subject. The more exact and detailed 
explanation of this is what will now occupy our atten- 

§ 31. First, however, the following very essential 
remark. I hope that in the preceding book I have 
succeeded in producing the conviction that what is called 
in the Kantian philosophy the thing-in-itself, and appears 
there as so significant, and yet so obscure and paradoxi- 
cal a doctrine, and especially on account of the manner 
in which Kant introduced it as an inference from the 
caused to the cause, was considered a stumbling-stone, 
and, in fact, the weak side of his philosophy, — that this, I 
say, if it is reached by the entirely different way by 
which we have arrived at it, is nothing but the will 
when the sphere of that conception is extended and 
defined in the way I have shown. I hope, further, that 
after what has been said there will be no hesitation in 
recognising the definite grades of the objectification of 
the will, winch is the inner reality of the world, to be 
what Plato called the eternal Ideas or unchangeable forms 
(ei&rf) ; a doctrine which is regarded as the principal, but 
at the same time the most obscure and paradoxical 
dogma of his system, and has been the subject of reflec- 
tion and controversy of ridicule and of reverence to so 
many and such differently endowed minds in the course 
of many centuries. 


If now the will is for us the thing-in-itself, and the Idea 
is the immediate objectivity of that will at a definite grade, 
we find that Kant's thing-in-itself, and Plato's Idea, which 
to him is the only oz/tw? ov, these two great obscure para- 
doxes of the two greatest philosophers of the West are not 
indeed identical, but yet very closely related, and only 
distinguished by a single circumstance. The purport of 
these two great paradoxes, with all inner harmony and 
relationship, is yet so very different on account of the 
remarkable diversity of the individuality of their authors, 
that they are the best commentary on each other, for 
they are like two entirely different roads that conduct us 
to the same goal. This is easily made clear. What 
Kant says is in substance this : — " Time, space, and 
causality are not determinations of the thing-in-itself, but 
belong only to its phenomenal existence, for they are 
nothing but the forms of our knowledge. Since, how- 
ever, all multiplicity, and all coming into being and 
passing away, are only possible through time, space, and 
causality, it follows that they also belong only to the 
phenomenon, not to the thing-in-itself. But as our 
knowledge is conditioned by these forms, the whole of 
experience is only knowledge of the phenomenon, not of 
the thing-in-itself; therefore its laws cannot be made 
valid for the thing-in-itself. This extends even to 
our own ego, and we know it only as phenomenon, and 
not according to what it may be in itself." Tliis is 
the meaning and content of the doctrine of Kant in the 
important respect we are considering. What Plato says 
is this: — "The things of this world which our senses 
perceive have no true being; they always become, they 
never are: they have only a relative being; they all 
exist merely in and through their relations to each other ; 
their whole being may, therefore, quite as well be called 
a non-being. They are consequently not objects of a true 
knowledge (eTnGTrmrj), for such a knowledge can only be 
of what exists for itself, and always in the same way ; 

222 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

they, on the contrary, are only the objects of an opinion 
based on sensation (Soga fier aiadrjaeax; aXoyov). So 
long as we are confined to the perception of these, we are 
like men who sit in a dark cave, bound so fast that they 
cannot turn their heads, and who see nothing but the 
shadows of real things which pass between them and a 
fire burning behind them, the light of which casts the 
shadows on the wall opposite them ; and even of them- 
selves nnd of each other they see only the shadows on 
the walL Their wisdom would thus consist in predicting 
the order of the shadows learned from experience. The 
real archetypes, on the other hand, to which these 
shadows correspond, the eternal Ideas, the original forms 
of all things, can alone be said to have true being (ovrovi 
op), because they always are, but never become nor pass 
away. To them belongs no multiplicity ; for each of 
them is according to its nature only one, for it is the 
archetype itself, of which all particular transitory 
things of the same kind which are named after it are 
copies or shadows. They have also no coming into being 
nor 'passing away, for they are truly being, never becom- 
ing nor vanishing, like their fleeting shadows. (It is 
necessarily presupposed, however, in these two negative 
definitions, that time, space, and casuality have no signi- 
ficance or validity for these Ideas, and that they do not 
exist in them.) Of these only can there be true know- 
ledge, for the object of such knowledge can only be that 
which always and in every respect (thus in-itself) is ; not 
that which is and again is not, according as we look at 
it." This is Plato's doctrine. It is clear, and requires 
no further proof that the inner meaning of both doctrines 
is entirely the same ; that both explain the visible world 
as a manifestation, which in itself is nothing, and which 
only has meaning and a borrowed reality through that 
which expresses itself in it (in the one case the thing-in- 
self, in the other the Idea). To this last, which has°true 
being, all the forms of that phenomenal existence, even 


the most universal and essential, are, according to both 
doctrines, entirely foreign. In order to disown these 
forms Kant has directly expressed them even in abstract 
terms, and distinctly refused time, space, and casuality as 
mere forms of the phenomenon to the thing-in-itself. 
Plato, on the other hand, did not attain to the fullest 
expression, and has only distinctly refused these forms to 
his Ideas in that he denies of the Ideas what is only 
possible through these forms, multiplicity of similar 
things, coming into being and passing away. Though 
it is perhaps superfluous, I should like to illustrate this 
remarkable and important agreement by an example. 
There stands before us, let us suppose, an animal in the 
full activity of life. Plato would say, " This animal has 
no true existence, but merely an apparent existence, a 
constant becoming, a relative existence which may just 
as well be called non-being as being. Only the Idea 
which expresses itself in that animal is truly ' being/ or 
the animal in-itself {clvto to OrjpLov), which is dependent 
upon nothing, but is in and for itself (ica& eavro, aei a>? 
avTwi) ; it has not become, it will not end, but always is 
in the same way (aei ov, kcli fju^eirore oure ytyvo/jLevov 
ovre cLTroXkvjjLevov). If now we recognise its Idea in this 
animal, it is all one and of no importance whether we 
have this animal now before us or its progenitor of a 
thousand years ago, whether it is here or in a distant 
land, whether it presents itself in this or that manner, 
position, or action ; whether, lastly, it is this or any other 
individual of the same species ; all this is nothing, and 
only concerns the phenomenon; the Idea of the animal 
alone has true being, and is the object of real knowledge." 
So Plato ; Kant would say something of this kind, " This 
animal is a phenomenon in time, space, and casuality, 
which are collectively the conditions a priori of the possi- 
bility of experience, lying in our faculty of knowledge, 
not determinations of the thing-in-itsef. Therefore this 
animal as we perceive it at this definite point of time, in 

224 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. iil 

this particular place, as an individual in the connection 
of experience (i.e. t in the chain of causes and effects), 
which has come into being, and will just as necessarily 
pass away, is not a thing-in-itself, but a phenomenon 
which only exists in relation to our knowledge. To 
know it as what it may be in itself, that is to say, inde- 
pendent of all the determinations which lie in time, space, 
and casuality, would demand another kind of knowledge 
than that which is possible for us through the senses and 
the understanding." 

In order to bring Kant's mode of expression nearer 
the Platonic, we might say : Time, space, and causality are 
that arrangement of our intellect by virtue of which the 
one being of each kind which alone really is, manifests 
itself to us as a multiplicity of similar beings, constantly 
appearing and disappearing in endless succession. The 
apprehension of things by means of and in accordance 
with this arrangement is immanent knowledge ; that, on 
the other hand, which is conscious of the true state of 
the case, is transcendental knowledge. The latter is 
obtained in abstracto through the criticism of pure reason, 
but in exceptional cases it may also appear intuitively. 
This last is an addition of my own, which I am endeavour- 
ing in this Third Book to explain. 

If the doctrine of Kant had ever been properly under- 
stood and grasped, and since Kant's time that of Plato, 
if men had truly and earnestly reflected on the inner 
meaning and content of the teaching of these two great 
masters, instead of involving themselves in the techni- 
calities of the one and writing parodies of the style of 
the other, they could not have failed to discern long 
ago to what an extent these two great philosophers 
agree, and that the true meaning, the aim of both 
systems, is the same. Not only would they have 
refrained from constantly comparing Plato to Leibnitz, 
on whom his spirit certainly did not rest, or indeed to a 


well-known gentleman who is still alive, 1 as if they wanted 
to mock the manes of the great thinker of the past ; but 
they would have advanced much farther in general, or 
rather they would not have fallen so disgracefully far 
behind as they have in the last forty years. They 
would not have let themselves be led by the nose, to-day 
by one vain boaster and to-morrow by another, nor would 
they have opened the nineteenth century, which promised 
so much in Germany, with the philosophical farces that 
were performed over the grave of Kant (as the ancients 
sometimes did at the funeral obsequies of their dead), 
and which deservedly called forth the derision of other 
nations, for such things least become the earnest and 
strait-laced German. But so small is the chosen public 
of true philosophers, that even students who understand 
are but scantily brought them by the centuries — Eiai Brj 
vap07]KO(f)opoi fjuev 7ro\Xot, /3a/c%ot Se ye iravpou (Thyrsigeri 
quidem multi, Bacchi vero pauci). 'H arifiia cf)i\ocro(f>iq 
Bia ravra irpoaTreTTTCoKev, oti ov /car a^iav auT^? dirTOvrai,' 
ov yap voOov? eBet dirTeadcu, aWa yvrjcriovs (Earn oh rem 
philosop/iia in infamiam incidit, quod non pro dignitate 
ipsam attingunt : neque enim a spuriis, sed a legitimes erat 
attrectanda). — Plato. 

Men followed the words, — such words as "a priori 
ideas," " forms of perception and thought existing in con- 
sciousness independently of experience," " fundamental 
conceptions of the pure understanding," &c, &c, — and 
asked whether Plato's Ideas, which were also original 
conceptions, and besides this were supposed to be remi- 
niscences of a perception before life of the truly real 
things, were in some way the same as Kant's forms of 
perception and thought, which lie a priori in our conscious- 
ness. On account of some slight resemblance in the expres- 
sion of these two entirely different doctrines, the Kantian 
doctrine of the forms which limit the knowledge of the 
individual to the phenomenon, and the Platonic doctrine 

1 F. H. J*cobi. 
VOL. I. P 

226 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. in. 

of Ideas, the knowledge of which these very forms ex- 
pressly deny, these so far diametrically opposed doctrines 
were carefully compared, and men deliberated and dis- 
puted as to whether they were identical, found at last 
that they were not the same, and concluded that Plato's 
doctrine of Ideas and Kant's " Critique of Reason " had 
nothing in common. But enough of this. 1 

§ 32. It follows from our consideration of the sub- 
ject, that, for us, Idea and thing-in-itself are not entirely 
one and the same, in spite of the inner agreement be- 
tween Kant and Plato, and the identity of the aim they 
had before them, or the conception of the world which 
roused them and led them to philosophise. The Idea is 
for us rather the direct, and therefore adequate, objec- 
tivity of the thing-in-itself, which is, however, itself the 
will — the will as not yet objectified, not yet become idea. 
For the thing-in-itself must, even according to Kant, be 
free from all the forms connected with knowing as such ; 
and it is merely an error on his part (as is shown in the 
Appendix) that he did not count among these forms, 
before all others, that of being object for a subject, for 
it is the first and most universal form of all phenomena, 
i.e., of all idea; he should therefore have distinctly 
denied objective existence to his thing-in-itself, which 
would have saved him from a great inconsistency that 
was soon discovered. The Platonic Idea, on the other 
hand, is necessarily object, something known, an idea, 
and in that respect is different from the thing-in-itself, 
but in that respect only. It has merely laid aside the 
subordinate forms of the phenomenon, all of which we 
include in the principle of sufficient reason, or rather 
it has not yet assumed them ; but it has retained the 
first and most universal form, that of the idea in general, 
the form of being object for a subject. It is the forms 

1 See for example, "Immanuel of Philosophy," vol vi. pp. S02-815 
Kant, a Reminiscence, by Fr. Bouter- and 823. 
week," p. 49, ana Buhle's "History 


which are subordinate to this (whose general expression 
is the principle of sufficient reason) that multiply the 
Idea in particular transitory individuals, whose number 
is a matter of complete indifference to the Idea. The 
principle of sufficient reason is thus again the form into 
which the Idea enters when it appears in the knowledge 
of the subject as individual. The particular thing that 
manifests itself in accordance with the principle of suffi- 
cient reason is thus only an indirect objectification of 
the thing-in-itself (which is the will), for between it and 
the thing-in-itself stands the Idea as the only direct 
objectivity of the will, because it has assumed none of 
the special forms of knowledge as such, except that of 
the idea in general, i.e., the form of being object for a 
subject. Therefore it alone is the most adequate objectivity 
of the will or thing-in-itself which is possible ; indeed it 
is the whole thing-in-itself, only under the form of the 
idea ; and here lies the ground of the great agreement 
between Plato and Kant, although, in strict accuracy, 
that of which they speak is not the same. But the par- 
ticular things are no really adequate objectivity of the 
will, for in them it is obscured by those forms whose 
general expression is the principle of sufficient reason, 
but which are conditions of the knowledge which belongs 
to the individual as such. If it is allowable to »draw 
conclusions from an impossible presupposition, we would, 
in fact, no longer know particular things, nor events, nor 
change, nor multiplicity, but would comprehend only 
Ideas, — only the grades of the objectification of that one 
will, of the thing-in-itself, in pure unclouded knowledge. 
Consequently our world would be a nunc stans, if it 
were not that, as knowing subjects, we are also indivi- 
duals, i.e., our perceptions come to us through the medium 
of a body, from the affections of which they proceed, and 
which is itself only concrete willing, objectivity of the 
will, and thus is an object among objects, and as such 
comes into the knowing consciousness in the only way in 

228 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. m. 

which an object can, through the forms of the principle 
of sufficient reason, and consequently already presupposes, 
and therefore brings in, time, and all other forms which that 
principle expresses. Time is only the broken and piecemeal 
view which the individual being has of the Ideas, which 
are outside time, and consequently eternal. Therefore 
Plato says time is the moving picture of eternity : auovo? 
euccov Kivryrq 6 ^/xwo?. 1 ' 

§ 33. Since now, as individuals, we have no other 
knowledge than that which is subject to the principle of 
sufficient reason, and this form of knowledge excludes 
the Ideas, it is certain that if it is possible for us to 
raise ourselves from the knowledge of particular things 
to that of the Ideas, this can only happen by an altera- 
tion taking place in the subject which is analogous and 
corresponds to the great change of the whole nature of 
the object, and by virtue of which the subject, so far as 
it knows an Idea, is no more individual 

It will be remembered from the preceding book that 
knowledge in ge n£rM,J3filomis_to the objectification of 
will at its higher_jp:ades, and sensibility , nerves, and 
brain, just like the other parts of the organised being, 
are the expression of the will at this stage of its ob- 
jectivity, and therefore the idea which appears through 
them is also in the same way bound to the service of 
will as a means (jirj^avrj) for the attainment of its now 
complicated (TroXvreXecrTepa) aims for sustaining a being 
of manifold requirements. Thus originally and according 
to its nature, knowledge is completely subject to the will, 
and, like the immediate object, which, by means of the 
application of the law of causality, is its starting-point, 
all knowledge which proceeds in accordance with the 
principle of sufficient reason remains in a closer or 
more distant relation to the will. For the individual 
finds his body as an object among objects, to all of which 
it is related and connected according to the principle 

1 Cf. Chap. xxix. of Supplement 


of sufficient reason. Thus all investigations of these 
relations and connections lead back to his body, and 
consequently to his will. Since it is the principle oi 
sufficient reason which places the objects in this relation 
to the body, and, through it, to the will, the one endea- 
vour of the knowledge which is subject to this principle 
will be to find out the relations in which objects are 
placed to each other through this principle, and thus to 
trace their innumerable connections in space, time, and 
causality. For only through these is the object interest- 
ing to the individual, i.e. t related to the will Therefore 
the knowledge which is subject to the will knows nothing s\ 
further of objects than their relations, knows the objects I 
only so far as they exist at this time, in this place, under 
these circumstances, from these causes, and with these 
effects — in a word, as particular things ; and if all these 
relations were to be taken away, the objects would also 
have disappeared for it, because it knew nothing more 
about them. We must not disguise the fact that wjiat r 
the sciences_ consider. in_ ...things is aj go ln r fi a1l ty ""thing I 
more than th is ; their relations, the connections of time I 
and space, the causes of natural changes, the resemblance 
of forms, the motives of actions, — thus merely relations. 
What distinguishes science from ordinary knowledge is 
merely its systematic form, the facilitating of knowledge 
by the comprehension of all particulars in the universal, 
by means of the subordination of concepts, and the com- 
pleteness of knowledge which is thereby attained. /* ^A1L 
relation has itself only a relative existen ce ; for example, 
all being in time is a lso non-being ; for time is only that 
by m ea ns of a diich opposite determinations can belong 
to the same thing ; therefore every phenomenon which 
is in time again is not, for what separates its beginning 
from its end is only time, which is essentially a fleeting, 
inconstant, and relative thing, here called duration. But 
time is the most universal form of all objects of the 

a 3 o 


knowledge which is subject to the will, and the proto- 
type of its other forms. 

Knowledge now, as a rule, remains always subordi- 
nate to the service of the will, as indeed it originated for 
this service, and grew, so to speak, to the will, as the 
head to the body. In the case of the brutes this subjec- 
tion of knowledge to the will can never be abolished. In 
the case of men it can be abolished only in exceptional 
cases, which we shall presently consider more closely. 
This distinction between man and brute is outwardly 
expressed by the difference of the relation of the head to 
the body. In the case of the lower brutes both are 
deformed : in all brutes the head is directed towards the 
earth, where the objects of its will lie; even in the 
higher species the head and the body are still far more 
one than in the case of man, whose head seems freely 
set upon his body, as if only carried by and not serving 
it. This human excellence is exhibited in the highest 
degree by the Apollo of Belvedere ; the head of the god 
of the Muses, with eyes fixed on the far distance, stands 
so freely on his shoulders that it seems wholly delivered 
from the body, and no more subject to its cares. 

§ 34. The transition which we have referred to as 
possible, but yet to be regarded as only exceptional, from 
the common knowledge of particular tilings to the know- 
ledge of the Idea, takes place suddenly ; for knowledge 
breaks free from the service of the will, by the subject 
ceasing to be merely individual, and thus becoming the 
pure will-less subject of knowledge, which no longer traces 
relations in accordance with the principle of sufhcient 
reason, but rests in fixed contemplation of the object 
1 presented to it, out of its connection with all others, and 
\ rises into it. 

A lull explanation is necessary to make this clear, and 
the reader must suspend his surprise for a while, till he 
has grasped the whole thought expressed in this work, 
and then it will vanish of itself. 


'/if, raised by the power of the mind, a man relinquishes 
the common way of looking at things, gives up tracing, 
under the guidance of the forms of the principle of sufficient 
reason, their relations to each other, the final goal of which 
is always a relation to his own will ; if he thus ceases to 
consider the where, the when, the why, and the whither 
of things, and looks simply and solely at the what ; if, 
further, he does not allow abstract thought, the concepts 
of the reason, to take possession of his consciousness, 
but, instead of all this, gives the whole power of his mind 
to perception, sinks himself entirely in this, and lets his 
whole consciousness be filled with {3hft qm'ftti con tempi a- 
tJTgLil Ltftp- natauaJ ohjp.ot actuall y prf,fip,nt . whether a 
landscape, a tree, a mountain, a building, or whatever it 
may be ; inasmuch as he loses himself in this object (to use 
a pregnant German idiom), i.e., forgets even his indivi- 
duality, his will, and only continues to exist as t he pure 

su bject, the c lear mirror of . the ^object, so that it is as if 

tne object alone were there, without any one to perceive 
it, and he can no longer separate the perceiver from the 
perception, but both have become one, because the whole 
consciousness is filled and occupied with one single sen- 
suous picture; if thus the object has to such an extent 
passed out of all relation to something, and the 
sub ject out of all relati on^ thft will , then that which is 
so known is no longer the particular thing as such ; but 
it is the Idea, the eternal form, the immediate objectivity 
of the will at this grade ; and, therefore, he who is sunk 
in this perception is no longer individual, for in such 
perception the individual has lost himself; but he is 
pure, will-less, painless, timeless subject of knowledge. 
This, which in itself is so remarkable (which I well know 
confirms 'the saying that originated with Thomas Paine, 
Du sublime au ridicule il rCy a qu'un pas), will by degrees 
become clearer and less surprising from what follows. 
It was this that was running in Spinoza's mind when he 
wrote : Meus wterna est, quatenus res sub ozternitatis specie 

232 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

concipit (Eth. V. pr. 31, Schol.) 1 ^n such contemplation 
the particular thing becomes at once the Idea of its 
species, and the perceiving individual becomes pure sub- 
ject of knowledge. The individual, as such, knows only 
particular things ; the pure subject of knowledge knows 
only Ideas. For the indi vidual is the subjec^of know - 
led ge in its relation to a definite particular, manifestation 
pj will , and in su bjection JoJkis. This particular mani- 
festation of will is, as such, subordinated to the principle 
of sufficient reason in all its forms ; therefore, all know- 
ledge which relates itself to it also follows the principle 
of sufficient reason, and no other kind of knowledge is 
fitted to be of use to the will but this, which always con- 
sists merely of relations to the object. The knowing 
individual as such, and the particular things known by 
him, are always in some place, at some time, and are links 
in the chain of causes and effects. The pure subject of 
knowledge and his correlative, the Idea, have passed out 
of all these forms of the principle of sufficient reason: 
time, place, the individual that knows, and the individual 
that is known, have for them no meaning. When an 
individual knower has raised himself in the manner 
described to be pure subject of knowledge, and at the same 
time has raised the observed object to the Platonic Idea, 
the world as idea appears complete and pure, and the full 
objecti fication of the will takes place, for the Platonic 
Idea alone is its adequate objectivity. The Idea includes 
object and subject in like manner in itself, for they are 
its one form ; but in it they are absolutely of equal im- 
portance ; for as the object is here, as elsewhere, simply 
the idea of the subject, the subject, which passes entirely 
into the perceived object* has thus become this object 
itself, for the whole consciousness is nothing but its per- 

1 I also recommend the perusal of tiva, in illustration of the kind of 

what Spinoza says in his Ethics knowledge we are considering, and 

(Book II., Prop. 40, Schol. 2, and very specially Prop. 29, Schol. ; prop. 

Book V., Props. 25-38), concerning 36, Schol., and Prop. 38, Demonst. et 

the cognitio teriii generis, rive intui- SchoL 


fectly distinct picture. Now this co nscious ness consti- 
tutes the whole worldjis idea l for one imagines the whole 
of the Platonic Ideas, or grades of the objectivity of will, 
in their series passing through it. The particular things 
of all time and space are nothing but Ideas multiplied 
through the principle of sufficient reason (the form of the 
knowledge of the individual as such), and thus obscured 
as regards their pure objectivity. When the Platonic 
Idea appears, in it subject and object are no longer to be 
distinguished, for the Platonic Idea, the adequate objec- 
tivity of will, the true world as idea, arises only when 
the subject and object reciprocally fill and penetrate 
each other completely ; and in the same way the know- 
ing and the known individuals, as things in themselves, 
are not to be distinguished. For if we look entirely 
away from the true world as idea, there remains nothing fy 
but the world as will The_will is the " inj tself " of the. 
Platonic Idea^ which fully objectifies it; it is also the 
^in-itself " of the particular thing and of the individual 
that knows it, which objectify it incompletely. As will, 
outside the idea and all its forms, it is one and the same 
in the object contemplated and in the individual, who 
soars aloft in this contemplation, and becomes conscious 
of himself as pure subject. These two are, therefore, in 
themselves not different, for in themselves they are will, 
which here knows itself ; and multiplicity and difference 
exist only as the way in which this knowledge comes to 
the will, ie., only in the phenomenon, on account of its 
form, the principle of sufficient reason. 

Now the known thing, without me as the subject of 
knowledge, is just as little an object, and not mere will, 
blind effort, as without the object, without the idea, I 
am a knowing subject and not mere blind will. This 
will is in itself, i.e. y outside the idea, one and the same 
with mine: only in the world as idea, whose form is 
always at least that of subject and object, we are sepa- 
rated as the known and the knowing individual. As 

234 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

soon as knowledge, the world as idea, is abolished, there 
remains nothing but mere will, blind effort. That it 
should receive objectivity, become idea, supposes at once 
both subject and object; but that this should be pure, 
complete, and adequate objectivity of the will, supposes 
the object as Platonic Idea, free from the forms of the 
principle of sufficient reason, and the subject as the pure 
subject of knowledge, free from individuality and subjec- 
tion to the will. 

Whoever now, has, after the manner referred to, be- 
come so absorbed and lost in the perception of nature 
that he only continues to exist as the pure knowing sub- 
ject, becomes in this way directly conscious that, as such, 
he is the condition, that is, the supporter, of the world 
and all objective existence ; for this now shows itself as 
dependent upon his existence. Thus he draws nature 
into himself, so that he sees it to be merely an accident 
of his own being. In this sense Byron says — h 

" Are not the mountains, waves, and skies, a part 
Of me and of my soul, as I of them ? " 

But how shall he who feels this, regard himself as ab- 
solutely transitory, in contrast to imperishable nature ? 
Such a man will rather be filled with the consciousness, 
which the Upanishad of the Veda expresses : Ho& omnes 
crcuturce in totum ego sum, et proeter me aliud ens non est 
(Oupnekhat, i 12 2). 1 

§ 3 5. In order to gain a deeper insight into the nature of 
the world, it is absolutely necessary that we should learn 
to distinguish the will as thing-in-itself from its ade- 
quate objectivity, and also the different grades in which 
this appears more and more distinctly and fully, i.e., the 
Ideas themselves, from the merely phenomenal existence 
of these Ideas in the forms of the principle of sufficient 
reason, the restricted method of knowledge of the indi- 
vidual We shall then agree with Plato when he 

1 Cf. Chap. xxx. of the Supplement 


attributes actual being only to the Ideas, and allows only 
an illusive, dream-like existence to things in space and 
time, the real world for the individual. Then we shall 
understand how one and the same Idea reveals itself in 
so many phenomena, and presents its nature only bit by 
bit to the individual, one side after another. Then we 
shall also distinguish the Idea itself from the way in 
which its manifestation appears in the observation of 
the individual, and recognise the former as essential and 
the latter as unessential. Let us consider this with the 
help of examples taken from the most insignificant things, 
and also from the greatest. When the clouds move, the 
figures which they form are not essential, but indifferent 
to them; but that as elastic vapour they are pressed to- 
gether, drifted along, spread out, or torn asunder by the 
force of the wind : this is their nature, the essence of the 
forces which objectify themselves in them, the Idea; 
their actual forms are only for the individual observer. 
To the brook that flows over stones, the eddies, the waves, 
the foam-flakes which it forms are indifferent and unes- 
sential ; but that it follows the attraction of gravity, and 
behaves as inelastic, perfectly mobile, formless, transpa- 
rent fluid : this is its nature ; this, if known through per- 
ception, is its Idea ; these accidental forms are only for 
us so long as we know as individuals. The ice on the 
window-pane forms itself into crystals according to the 
laws of crystallisation, which reveal the essence of the 
force of nature that appears here, exhibit the Idea ; but 
the trees and flowers which it traces on the pane are 
unessential, and are only there for us. What appears in 
the clouds, the brook, and the crystal is the weakest echo 
of that will which appears more fully in the plant, more 
fully still in the beast, and most fully in man. But only 
the essential in all these grades of its objectification con- 
stitutes the Idea; on the other hand, its unfolding or 
development, because broken up in the forms of the 
principle of sufficient reason into a multiplicity of many- 

236 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

sided phenomena, is unessential to the Idea, lies merely 
in the kind of knowledge that belongs to the individual 
and has reality only for this. The same thing necessarily 
holds good of the unfolding of that Idea which is the 
completest objectivity of will. Therefore, the history of 
the human race, the throng of events, the change of 
times, the multifarious forms of human life in different 
lands and countries, all this is only the accidental form 
of the manifestation of the Idea, does not belong to the 
Idea itself, in which alone lies the adequate objectivity 
of the will, but only to the phenomenon which appears 
in the knowledge of the individual, and is just as foreign, 
unessential, and indifferent to the Idea itself as the 
figures which they assume are to the clouds, the form of 
its eddies and foam-flakes to the brook, or its trees and 
flowers to the ice. 

To him who has thoroughly grasped this, and can dis- 
tinguish between the will and the Idea, and between the 
Idea and its manifestation, the events of the world will 
have significance only so far as they are the letters out 
of which we may read the Idea of man, but not in and 
for themselves. He will not believe with the vulgar 
that time may produce something actually new and 
significant ; that through it, or in it, something absolutely 
real may attain to existence, or indeed that it itself as a 
whole has beginning and end, plan and development, and 
in some way has for its final aim the highest perfection 
(according to their conception) of the last generation of 
man, whose life is a brief thirty years. Therefore he 
will just as little, with Homer, people a whole Olympus 
with gods to guide the events of time, as, with Ossian, he 
will take the forms of the clouds for individual beings; 
for, as we have said, both have just as much meaning as 
regards the Idea which appears in them. In the mani- 
fold forms of human life and in the unceasing change of 
events, he will regard the Idea only as the abiding and 
essential, in which the will to live has its fullest objec- 


tivity, and which shows its different sides in the capacities, 
the passions, the errors and the excellences of the human 
race ; in self-interest, hatred, love, fear, boldness, frivolity, 
stupidity, slyness, wit, genius, and so forth, all of which 
crowding together and combining in thousands of forms 
(individuals), continually create the history of the great 
and the little world, in which it is all the same whether 
they are set in motion by nuts or by crowns. Finally, 
he will find that in the world it is the same as in the 
dramas of Gozzi, in all of which the same persons 
appear, with like intention, and with a like fate; the 
motives and incidents are certainly different in each 
piece, but the spirit of the incidents is the same; the 
actors in one piece know nothing of the incidents of 
another, although they performed in it themselves ; 
therefore, after all experience of former pieces, Pantaloon 
has become no more agile or generous, Tartaglia no more 
conscientious, Brighella no more courageous, and Colum- 
bine no more modest. 

Suppose we were allowed for once a clearer glance 
into the kingdom of the possible, and over the whole 
chain of causes and effects ; if the earth-spirit appeared 
and showed us in a picture all the greatest men, en- 
lighteners of the world, and heroes, that chance destroyed 
before they were ripe for their work; then the great 
events that would have changed the history of the world 
and brought in periods of the highest culture and en- 
lightenment, but which the blindest chance, the most 
insignificant accident, hindered at the outset ; lastly, the 
splendid powers of great men, that would have enriched 
whole ages of the world, but which, either misled by 
error or passion, or compelled by necessity, they squandered 
uselessly on unworthy or unfruitful objects, or even wasted 
in play. If we saw all this, we would shudder and lament 
at the thought of the lost treasures of whole periods of 
the world. But the earth-spirit would smile and say, 
" The source from which the individuals and their powers 

23* THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

proceed is inexhaustible and unending as time and space ; 
for, like these forms of all phenomena, they also are only 
phenomena, visibility of the will. No finite measure 
can exhaust that infinite source; therefore an undimi- 
nished eternity is always open for the return of any 
event or work that was nipped in the bud. In this world 
of phenomena true loss is just as little possible as true 
gain. The will alone is ; it is the thing in-itself, and the 
source of all these phenomena. Its self-knowledge and 
its assertion or denial, which is then decided upon, is the 
only event in-itself." x 

§ 36. History follows the thread of events; it is prag- 
matic so far as it deduces them in accordance with the 
law of motivation, a law that determines the self-mani- 
festing will wherever it is enlightened by knowledge. 
At the lowest grades of its objectivity, where it still acts 
without knowledge, natural science, in the form of etiology, 
treats of the laws of the changes of its phenomena, and, 
in the form of morphology, of what is permanent in them. 
This almost endless task is lightened by the aid of con- 
cepts, which comprehend what is general in order that 
we may deduce what is particular from it. Lastly, 
mathematics treats of the mere forms, time and space, in 
which the Ideas, broken up into multiplicity, appear for 
the knowledge of the subject as individual. All these, 
of which the common name is science, proceed according 
to the principle of sufficient reason in its different forms, 
and their theme is always the phenomenon, its laws, con- 
nections, and the relations which result from them. But 
what kin d of knowledge is con ceinei Lwith that which i s 
outside an d "idp.ppndp.nt nf all relation^ t.W. which alone 
is really essential to the world, the true content of its 
phenomena, that which is subject to no change, and 
therefore is known with equal truth for all time, in a 
word, the Ideas, which are the direct and adequate objec- 

1 This last sentence cannot be understood without some acquaintance 
with the next book. 


tivity of the thing iu-itself, the will ? We answer , Art, 
the work of genius. It repeats or reproduces the eternal 
Ideas grasped through pure contemplation, the essential 
and abiding in all the phenomena of the world; and 
according to what the material is in which it reproduces, 
it is sculpture or painting, poetry or music. Its one 
source is the knowledge of Ideas ; its one aim the com- 
munication of this knowledge. While science, following 
the unresting and inconstant stream of the fourfold forms 
of reason and consequent, with each end attained , sees 
further, and can never reach a final goal nor attain full 
satisfaction, any more than by running we can reach the 
place where the clouds touch the horizon; art, on the 
contrary, is everywhere at its goaL For it plucks the 
object of its contemplation out of the stream of the 
world's course, and has it isolated before it. And this 
particular thing, which in that stream was a small perish- 
ing part, becomes to art the representative of the whole, 
an equivalent of the endless multitude in space and 
time. It therefore pauses at this particular thing ; the 
course of time stops; the relations vanish for it; only 
the essential, the Idea, is its object. We may, therefore, 
accurately define it as th e way of view ing things inde- 
-qmdent of the principl e of sufficient reason, in opposition 
to the way of viewing them which proceeds in accordance 
with that principle, and which is the method of expe- 
rience and of science. This last method of considering 
things may be compared to a line infinitely extended in 
a horizontal direction, and the former to a vertical line 
which cuts it at any point. The method of viewing 
things which proceeds in accordance with the principle 
of sufficient reason is the rational method, and it alone is 
valid and of use in practical life and in science. The 
method which looks away from the content of this prin- 
ciple is the method of genius, which is only valid and of 
use in art. The first is the method of Aristotle ; the 
second is, on the whole, that of Plato. The first is like 

240 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

the mighty storm, that rushes along without beginning 
and without aim, bending, agitating, and carrying away 
everything before it ; the second is like the silent sun- 
beam, that pierces through the storm quite unaffected by 
it The first is like the innumerable showering drops of 
the waterfall, which, constantly changing, never rest for 
an instant ; the second is like the rainbow, quietly resting 
on this raging torrent. Only through the pure contem- 
plation described above, which ends entirely in the object, 
can Ideas be comprehended; and the nature of genius 
consists in pre-eminent capacity for such contemplation. 
Now, as this requires that a man should entirely forget 
himself and the relations in which he stands, genius is 
simply the completest objectivity, i.e. } the objective ten- 
dency of the mind, as opposed to the subjective, which is 
directed to one's own self — in other words, to the wilL 
Thus genius is _ the faculty of c ontinuing in the state o f 
pn rp. pp.rr.p.p tionj of losing oneself in perception, and of 
enlisting in this service the knowledge which originally 
existed only for the service of the will ; that is to say, 
genius is the power of leaving one's own interests, wishes, 
and aims entirely out of sight, thus of entirely renounc- 
ing one's own personality for a time, so as to remain pure 
knowing suoject, clear vision of the world ; and this noj 
merely at moments, but for a sufficient length of time, 
and with sufficient consciousness, to enable one to repro- 
duce by deliberate art what has thus been apprehended, 
and " to fix in lasting thoughts the wavering images that 
float before the mind." It is as if, when genius appears 
in an individual, a far larger measure of the power of 
knowledge falls to his lot than is necessary for the ser- 
vice of an individual will ; and this superfluity of know- 
ledge, being free, now becomes subject purified from will, 
a clear mirror of the inner nature of the world. This 
explains the activity, amounting even to disquietude, of 
men of genius, for the present can seldom satisfy them, 
because it does not fill their consciousness. This gives 


them that restless aspiration, that unceasing desire for new 
things, and for the contemplation of lofty things, and 
also that longing that is hardly ever satisfied, for men 
of similar nature and of like stature, to whom they might 
communicate themselves; whilst the common mortal, 
entirely filled and satisfied by the common present, ends 
in it, and finding everywhere his like, enjoys that peculiar 
satisfaction in daily life that is denied to genius. 

Imagination has rightly been recognised as an essential 
element of genius ; it has sometimes even been regarded 
as identical with it ; but this is a mistake. As the objects 
of genius are the eternal Ideas, the permanent, essential 
forms of the world and all its phenomena, and as the 
k nowledge of the Ide a is necessarily knowledge through 
percepiion, is not abstract, the knowledge of the genius 
would be limited to the Ideas of the objects actually 
present to his person, and dependent upon the chain of 
circumstances that brought these objects to him, if his 
imagination did not extend his horizon far beyond the 
limits of his actual personal existence, and thus enable 
him to construct the whole out of the little that comes 
into his own actual apperception, and so to let almost all 
possible scenes of life pass tiefore him in his own con- 
sciousness. Further, the actual objects are almost always 
very imperfect copies of the Ideas expressed in them; 
therefore the man of genius requires imagination in order 
to see in things, not that which Nature has actually made, 
but that which she endeavoured to make, yet could not 
because of that conflict of her forms among themselves 
which we referred to in the last book We shall return 
to this farther on in treating of sculpture. The imagi- 
nation then extends the intellectual horizon of the man of 
genius beyond the objects which actually present them- 
selves to him, both as regards quality and quantity. 
Therefore extraordinary strength of imagination accom-, 
panies, and is indeed a necessary condition of genius. 
But the converse does not hold, for strength of imagi- 
vol. 1. n 

242 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

nation does not indicate genius ; on the contrary, men who 
have no touch of genius may have much imagination. 
For as it is possible to consider a real object in two 
opposite ways, purely objectively, the way of genius 
grasping its Idea, or in the common way, merely in the 
relations in which it stands to other objects and to one's 
own will, in accordance with the principle of sufficient 
reason, it is also possible to perceive an imaginary object 
in both of these ways. Regarded in the first way, it is a 
means to the knowledge of the Idea, the communication 
of which is the work of art; in the second case, the 
imaginary object is U3ed to build castles in the air 
congenial to egotism and the individual humour, and 
which for the moment delude and gratify ; thus only the 
relations of the phantasies so linked together are known. 
The man who indulges in such an amusement is a 
dreamer ; he will easily mingle those fancies that delight 
his solitude with reality, and so unfit himself for real 
life: perhaps he will write them down, and then we 
shall have the ordinary novel of every description, which 
entertains those who are like him and the public at large, 
for the readers imagine themselves in the place of the 
hero, and then find the story very agreeable. 

The common mortal, that manufacture of Nature which 
she produces by the thousand every day, is, as we have 
said, not capable, at least not continuously so, of obser- 
vation that in every sense is wholly disinterested, as 
sensuous contemplation, strictly so called, is. He can 
turn his attention to things only so far as they have 
some relation to his will, however indirect it may be. 
Since in this respect, which never demands anything but 
the knowledge of relations, the abstract conception of the 
thing is sufficient, and for the most part even better 
adapted for use ; the ordinary man does not linger long 
over the mere perception, does not fix his attention long 
on one object, but in all that is presented to him hastily 
seeks merely the concept under which it is to be brought. 


as the lazy man seeks a chair, and then it interests him 
no further. This is why he is so soon done with every- 
thing, with works of art, objects of natural beauty, and 
indeed everywhere with the truly significant contempla- 
tion of all the scenes of life. He does not linger ; only 
seeks to know his own way in life, together with all that 
might at any time become his way. Thus he makes topo- 
graphical notes in the widest sense ; over the considera- 
tion of life itself as such he wastes no time. The man 
of genius, on the other hand, whose excessive power of 
knowledge frees it at times from the service of will, 
dwells on the consideration of life itself, strives to com- 
prehend the Idea of each thing, not its relations to other 
things ; and in doing this he often forgets to consider his 
own path in life, and therefore for the most part pursues 
it awkwardly enough. While to the ordinary man his 
faculty of knowledge is a lamp to lighten his path, to the 
man of genius it is the sun which reveals the world. 
This great diversity in their way of looking at life soon 
becomes visible in the outward appearance both of the 
man of genius and of the ordinary mortal. The man in 
whom genius lives and works is easily distinguished by 
his glance, which is both keen and steady, and bears the 
stamp of perception, of contemplation. This is easily seen 
from the likenesses of the few men of genius whom Nature 
has produced here and there among countless millions. 
On the other hand, in the case of an ordinary man, the 
true object of his contemplation, what he is prying into, 
can be easily seen from his glance, if indeed it is not 
quite stupid and vacant, as is generally the case. There- 
fore t he expression of genius in a face consis ts in this, 
tnat in jt a decided predominance of knowledge over wi ll 
i s visib l e , and consequently there also shows itself in iT 
qJguMglfidf^Jjh at. is entirely devoid of rfilat imLJO-™!!, 
hL^pure knowing. On the contraiy, in ordinary counte- 
nances there is a predominant expression of will; and 
?re see that Jcnowledge only comes into activity unde r 

244 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

thejmjmlae-fll—sadll, and thus is directed merely b y 

Since the knowledge that pertains to genius, or the 
knowledge of Ideas, is that knowledge which does not 
follow the principle of sufficient reason, so, on the other 
hand, the knowledge which does follow, that principle is 
that which gives us prudence and raJiojiality_in_life, and 
which creates the sciences. Thus men of genius are 
affected with the deficiencies entailed in the neglect of 
this latter kind of knowledge. Yet what I say in this 
regard is subject to the limitation that it only concerns 
them in so far as and while they are actually engaged 
in that kind of knowledge which is peculiar to genius ; 
and this is by no means at every moment of their lives, 
for the great though spontaneous exertion which is de- 
manded for the comprehension of Ideas free from will 
must necessarily relax, and there are long intervals during 
which men of genius are placed in very much the same 
position as ordinary mortals, both as regards advantages 
and deficiencies. On this account the action of genius 
has always been regarded as an inspiration, as indeed the 
name indicates, as the action of o, superhuman bein g 
distinct from the individual himself, and which takes 
possession of him only periodically. The disinclination 
of men of genius to direct their attention to the content 
of the principle of sufficient reason will first show itself, 
with regard to the ground of being, as foslik e of m athe- 
matics ; for its procedure is based upon the most universal 
forms of the phenomenon space and time, which are 
themselves merely modes of the principle of sufficient 
reason, and is consequently precisely the opposite of that 
method of thought which seeks merely the content of 
the phenomenon, the Idea which expresses itself in it 
apart from all relations. The logical method of mathe- 
matics is also antagonistic to genius, for it does not 
satisfy but obstructs true insight, and presents merely a 
chain of conclusions in accordance with the principle of 

lio m<3#fe**tffr*jl &4+V4& ' 


the ground of knowing. The mental faculty upon which 
it makes the greatest claim is memory, for it is necessary / 
to recollect all the earlier propositions which are referred / 
to. Experience has also proved that men of great artis- # 
tic genius have no faculty for mathematics ; no man was 
ever very distinguished for both. Alfieri relates that 
he was never able to understand the fourth proposition 
of Euclid. Goethe was constantly reproached with his 
want of mathematical knowledge by the ignorant oppo- 
nents of his theory of colours. Here certainly, where it 
was not a question of calculation and measurement upon 
hypothetical data, but of direct knowledge by the under- 
standing of causes and effects, this reproach was so 
utterly absurd and inappropriate, that by making it they 
have exposed their entire want of judgment, just as much 
as by the rest of their ridiculous arguments. The fact 
that up to the present day, nearly half a century after 
the appearance of Goethe's theory of colours, even in 
Germany the Newtonian fallacies still have undisturbed 
possession of the professorial chair, and men continue to 
speak quite seriously of the seven homogeneous rays of 
light and their different ref'rangibility, will some day be 
numbered among the great intellectual peculiarities of 
men generally, and especially of Germans. From the 
same cause as we have referred to above, may be ex- 
plained the equally well-known fact that, conversely, 
admirable mathematicians have very little susceptibility 
for works of fine art. This is very naively expressed in 
the well-known anecdote of the French mathematician, 
who, after having read Racine's " Iphigenia," shrugged his 
shoulders and asked, " Quest ce que cela prouve ? " Fur- 
ther, as quick comprehension of relations in accordance 
with the laws of causality and motivation is what spe- 
cially constitutes prudence or sagacity, a .prudent man, 
so far as and while he is so, will not be a genius, and a 
manof genius^so far as and while he is so, will not be 
a prudent man. Lastly, perceptive knowledge generally, 

246 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

in the province of which the Idea always lies, is directly 
opposed to rational or abstract knowledge, which is 
guided by the principle of the ground of knowing. It is 
also well known that we seldom find great genius united 
with pre-eminent reasonableness ; on the contrary,, per- 
qoivi nf gpnius are often rii bjftpt- Jfij^gp* p-ra^fa'""** «"d 
irrational passions . But the ground of this is not weak- 
ness of reason, but partly unwonted energy of that whole 
phenomenon of will — the man of genius — which ex- 
presses itself through the violence of all his acts of will, 
and partly preponderance of the knowledge of percep- 
tion through the senses and understanding over abstract 
knowledge, producing a decided tendency to the per- 
ceptible, the exceedingly lively impressions of which so 
far outshine colourless concepts, that they take their 
place in the guidance of action, which consequently 
becomes irrational. Accordingly the impression of* the 
present moment is very strong with such persons, and 
carries them away into unconsidered action, violent 
emotions and passions. Moreover, since, in general, the 
knowledge of persons of genius has to some extent freed 
itself from the service of will, they will not in conversa- 
tion think so much of the person they are addressing as 
of the thing they are speaking about, which is vividly 
present to them ; and therefore they are likely to judge 
or narrate things too objectively for their own inte- 
rests ; they will not pass over in silence what would more 
prudently be concealed, and so forth. Finally, they are 
given to soliloquising, and in general may exhibit certain 
weaknesses which are actually akin to madness. It has 
often been remarked that there is a _side at which genius 
and_ madness touch, and even pass over into each other, 
and indeed poetical inspiration has been called a kind of 
madness : amabilis insania, Horace calls it (Od. iii. 4), 
and Wieland in the introduction to " Oberon " speaks of 
it as " amiable madness." Even Aristotle, as quoted by 
Seneca (De Tranq. Animi, 15, 16), is reported to have 


said: Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementico 
fuit. Plato expresses it in the figure of the dark cave, 
referred to above (De Eep. 7), when he says : " Those who, 
outside the cave, have seen the true sunlight and the 
things that have true being (Ideas), cannot afterwards see 
properly down in the cave, because their eyes are not 
accustomed to the darkness ; they cannot distinguish the 
shadows, and are jeered at for their mistakes by those 
who have never left the cave and its shadows." In the 
" Phsedrus " also (p. 3 1 7), he distinctly says that there 
can be no true poet without a certain madness ; in fact, 
(p. 327), that every one appears mad who recognises the 
eternal Ideas in fleeting things. Cicero also quotes: 
Negat enim sine furore, Democritus, quemquam poetam 
magnum esse posse ; quod idem dicit Plato (De Divin., i 
37). And, lastly, Pope says — 

" Great wits to madness sure are near allied, 
And thin partitions do their bounds divide." 

Especially instructive in this respect is Goethe's " Torquato 
Tasso," in which he shows us not only the suffering, the 
martyrdom of genius as such, but also how it constantly 
passes into madness. Finally, the fact of the direct connec- 
tion of genius and madness is established by the biographies 
of great men of genius, such as Rousseau, Byron, and Alfieri, 
and by anecdotes from the lives of others. On the other 
hand, I must mention that, by a diligent search in lunatic 
asylums, I have found individual cases of patients who 
were unquestionably endowed with great talents, and 
whose genius distinctly appeared through their madness, 
which, however, had completely gained the upper hand. 
Now this cannot be ascribed to chance, for on the one 
hand the number of mad persons is relatively very small, 
and on the other hand a person of genius is a pheno- 
menon which is rare beyond all ordinary estimation, and 
only appears in nature as the greatest exception. It will 
be sufficient to convince us of this if we compare the 

248 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. iil 

number of really great men of genius that the whole of 
civilised Europe has produced, botli in ancient and modern 
times, with the two hundred and fifty millions who are 
always living in Europe, and who change entirely every 
thirty years. In estimating the number of men of out- 
standing genius, we must of course only count those who 
have produced works which have retained through all time 
an enduring value for mankind. I shall not refrain from 
mentioning, that I have known some persons of decided, 
though not remarkable, mental superiority, who also 
showed a slight trace of insanity. It might seem from 
this that every advance of intellect beyond the ordinary 
measure, as an abnormal development, disposes to mad- 
ness. In the meantime, however, I will explain as 
briefly as possible my view of the purely intellectual 
ground of the relation between genius and madness, for 
tins will certainly assist the explanation of the real 
nature of genius, that is to say, of that mental endow- 
ment which alone can produce genuine works of art. 
But this necessitates a brief explanation of madness 
itself. 1 

A clear and complete insight into the nature of mad- 
ness, a correct and distinct conception of what constitutes 
the difference between the sane and the insane, has, as 
far as I know, not as yet been found. Neither reason 
nor understanding can be denied to madmen, for they 
talk and understand, and often draw very accurate con- 
clusions ; they also, as a rule, perceive what is present 
quite correctly, and apprehend the connection between 
cause and effect. Visions, like the phantasies of delirium, 
are no ordinary symptom of madness : delirium falsifies 
perception, madness the thoughts. For the most part, 
madmen do not err in the knowledge of what is imme- 
diately present; their raving always relates to what is 
absent and past, and only through these to their connection 
with what is present. Therefore it seems to me that 

1 Cf. Chap. xxxi. of the Supplement. 


their malady specially concerns the memory ; not indeed 
that memory fails them entirely, for many of them know 
a great deal by heart, and sometimes recognise persons 
whom they have not seen for a long time ; but rather 
that the thread of memory is broken, the continuity of 
its connection destroyed, and no uniformly connected 
recollection of the past is possible. Particular scenes of 
the past are known correctly, just like the particular 
present ; but there are gaps in their recollection which 
they fill up with fictions, and these are either always the 
same, in which case they become ^^fi^d— ideas, and the 
madness that results is called monomania or melancholy ; 
or they are always different, momentary fancies, and then 
it is called folly, fatuitas. This is why it is so difficult 
to find out their former life from lunatics when they 
enter an asylum. The true and the false are always 
mixed up in their memory. Although the immediate 
present is correctly known, it becomes falsified through 
its fictitious connection with an imaginary past; they 
therefore regard themselves and others as identical with 
persons who exist only in their imaginary past ; they do 
not recognise some of their acquaintances at all, and thus 
while they perceive correctly what is actually present, 
they have only false conceptions of its relations to what 
is absent. If the madness reaches a high degree, there 
is complete absence of memory, so that the madman is 
quite incapable of any reference to what is absent or past, 
and is only determined by the caprice of the moment in 
connection with the fictions which, in his mind, fill the 
past. In such a case, we are never for a moment safe 
from violence or murder, unless we constantly make the 
madman aware of the presence of superior force. The 
knowledge of the madman has this in common with that 
of the brute, both are confined to the present. What 
distinguishes them is that the brute has really no idea of 
the past as such, though the past acts upon it through 
the medium of custom, so that, for example, the dog 

250 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. of 

recognises its former master even after years, that is to say, 
it receives the wonted impression at the sight of him ; 
but of the time that has passed since it saw him it has 
no recollection. The madman, on the other hand, always 
carries about in his reason an abstract past, but it is a 
false past, which exists only for him, and that either con- 
stantly, or only for the moment. The influence of this 
false past prevents the use of the true knowledge of 
the present which the brute is able to make. The fact 
that violent mental suffering or unexpected and terrible 
calamities should often produce madness, I explain in 
the following manner. All such suffering is as an actual 
event confined to the present. It is thus merely transi- 
tory, and is consequently never excessively heavy ; it only 
becomes unendnrably great when it is lasting pain ; but 
as such it exists only in thought, and therefore lies in 
the memory. If now such a sorrow, such painful know- 
ledge or reflection, is so bitter that it becomes altogether 
unbearable, and the individual is prostrated under it, 
then, terrified Nature seizes upon madness as the last 
resource of life ; the mind so fearfully tortured at once 
destroys the thread of its memory, fills up the gaps with 
fictions, and thus seeks refuge in madness from the men- 
tal suffering that exceeds its strength, just as we cut off 
a mortified limb and replace it with a wooden one. The 
distracted Ajax, King Lear, and Ophelia may be taken 
as examples ; for the creations of true genius, to which 
alone we can refer here, as universally known, are equal 
in truth to real persons ; besides, in this case, frequent 
actual experience shows the same thing. A faint analogy 
of this kind of transition from pain to madness is to be 
found in the way in which all of us often seek, as it were 
mechanically, to drive away a painful thought that sud- 
denly occurs to us by some loud exclamation or quick 
movement — to turn ourselves from it, to distract our 
minds by force. 

We see, from what has been said, that the madman has 


a true knowledge of what is actually present, and also of 
certain particulars of the past, but that he mistakes the 
connection, the relations, and therefore falls into error 
and talks nonsense. Now this is exactly the point at 
which he comes into contact with the man of genius ; 
for he also leaves out of sight the knowledge of the 
connection of things/since he neglects that knowledge 
of relations which conforms to the principle of sufficient 
reason, in order to see in things only their Ideas, and to 
seek to comprehend their true nature, which manifests 
itself to perception, and in regard to which one thing 
represents its whole species, in which way, as Goethe 
says, one case is valid for a thousand. The particular 
object of his contemplation, or the present which is per- 
ceived by him with extraordinary vividness, appear in so 
strong a light that the other links of the chain to which 
they belong are at once thrown into the shade, and this 
gives rise to phenomena which have long been recognised 
as resembling those of madness. That which in particular 
given things exists only incompletely and weakened by 
modifications, is raised by the man of genius, through his 
way of contemplating it, to the Idea of the thing, to com- 
pleteness : he therefore sees everywhere extremes, and 
therefore his own action tends to extremes ; he cannot 
hit the mean, he lacks soberness, and the result is what 
we have said. He knows the Ideas completely but not 
the individuals. Therefore it has been said that a poet 
may know mankind deeply and thoroughly, and may yet 
have a very imperfect knowledge of men. He is easily 
deceived, and is a tool in the hands of the crafty. 

§ 37. Genius, then, consists, according to our explana- 
tion, in the capacity for knowing, independently of the 
principle of sufficient reason, not individual things, which 
have their existence only in their relations, but the Ideas 
of such things, and of being oneself the correlative of the 
Idea, and thus no longer an individual, but the pure sub- 
ject of knowledge. Yet this faculty must exist in all 

252 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi 

men in a smaller and different degree ; for if not, they 
would be just as incapable of enjoying works of art as of 
producing them ; they would have no susceptibility for 
the beautiful or the sublime ; indeed, these words could 
have no meaning for them. We must therefore assume 
that there exists in all men this power of knowing the 
Ideas in tilings, and consequently of transcending their 
personality for the moment, unless indeed there are some 
men who are capable of no aesthetic pleasure at all. The 
man of genius excels ordinary men only by possessing 
this kind of knowledge in a far higher degree and more 
continuously. Thus, while under its influence he retains 
the presence of mind which is necessary to enable him to 
repeat in a voluntary and intentional work what he has 
learned in this manner ; and this repetition is the work 
of art. Through this he communicates to others the Idea 
he has grasped. This Idea remains unchanged and the 
same, so that aesthetic pleasure is one and the same 
whether it is called forth by a work of art or directly 
by the contemplation of nature and life. The work of 
art is only a means of facilitating the knowledge in which 
this pleasure consists. That the Idea comes to us more 
easily from the work of art than directly from nature and 
the real world, arises from the fact that the artist, who 
knew only the Idea, no longer the actual, has reproduced 
in his work the pure Idea, has abstracted it from the 
actual, omitting all disturbing accidents. The artist lets 
us see the world through his eyes. That he has these 
eyes, that he knows the inner nature of things apart from 
all their relations, is the gift of genius, is inborn; but 
that he is able to lend us this gift, to let us see with his 
eyes, is acquired, and is the technical side of art. There- 
fore, after the account which I have given in the preced- 
ing pages of the inner nature of aesthetical knowledge in 
its most general outlines, the following more exact philo- 
sophical treatment of the beautiful and the sublime will 
explain them both, in nature and in art, without separating 


them further. First of all we shall consider what takes 
place in a man when he is affected by the beautiful and 
the sublime; whether he derives this emotion directly 
from nature, from life, or partakes of it only through the 
medium of art, does not make any essential, but merely 
an external, difference. 

§ 38. In the sesthetical mode of contemplation we 
have found two inseparable constituent parts — the know- 
ledge of the object, not as individual thing but as 
^Platonic Idea, that is, as the enduring form of this whole 
species of things; and the self-consciousness of the know- 
ing., person, not as individual, but as pure will-less subject 
of knowledge. The condition under which both these 
constituent parts appear always united was found to 
be the abandonment of the method of knowing which is 
bound to the principle of sufficient reason, and which, on 
the other hand, is the only kind of knowledge that is of 
value for the service of the will and also for science. 
Moreover, we shall see that the pleasure which is pro- 
duced by the contemplation of the beautiful arises from 
these two constituent parts, sometimes more from the 
one, sometimes more from the other, according to what 
the object of the sesthetical contemplation may be. 

All willinn aaaflfl from want, therefore from deficiency, 
andJ JHT Q frrp froip suffering, The satisfaction of a wish 
ends it ; yet for one wish that is satisfied there remain 
at least ten which are denied. Further, the desire lasts 
long, the demands are infinite ; the satisfaction is short 
and scantily measured out. But even the final satisfac- 
tion is itself only apparent ; every satisfied wish at once 
makes room for a new one ; both are illusions ; the one 
is known to be so, the other not yet. No attained 
object of desire can give lasting satisfaction, but merely 
a fleeting gratification ; it is like the alms thrown to the 
beggar, that keeps him alive to-day that his misery may 
be prolonged till the morrow. Therefore, so long as our 
consciousness is filled by our will, so long as we are 

2*4 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. iil 

given up to the throng of desires with their constant 
f hopes and fears, so long as we are the subject of willing, 
I we can never have lasting happiness nor peace. It is 
essentially all the same whether we pursue or flee, fear 
injury or seek enjoyment ; the care for the constant 
demands of the will, in whatever form it may be, con- 
tinually occupies and sways the consciousness ; but 
without peace no true well-being is possible. The sub- 
ject of willing is thus constantly stretched on the 
revolving wheel of Ixion, pours water into the sieve of 
the Danaids, is the ever-longing Tantalus. 

But when some external cause or inward disposition 
lifts us suddenly out of the endless stream of willing, 
delivers knowledge from the slavery of the will, the at- 
tention is no longer directed to the motives of willing, 
but comprehends things free from their relation to the 
will, and thus observes them without personal interest, 
without subjectivity, purely objectively, gives itself en- 
tirely up to them so far as they are ideas, but not in so 
far as they are motives. Then all at once the peace 
which we were always seeking, but which always lied 
from us on the former path of the desires, comes to us 
of its own accord, and it is well with us. It is the pain- 
less state which Epicurus prized as the highest good and 
as the state of the gods ; for w r e are for the moment set 
free from the miserable striving of the will ; we keep the 
Sabbath of the penal servitude of willing ; the wheel of 
Ixion stands still. 

But this is just the state which I described above as 
necessary for the knowledge of the Idea, as pure contem- 
plation, as sinking oneself in perception, losing oneself in 
the object, forgetting all individuality, surrendering that 
kind of knowledge which follows the principle of suffi- 
cient reason, ana\ comprehends only relational the state 
by means of which at once and inseparably the perceived 
particular thing is raised to the Idea of its whole species, 
and the knowing individual to the pure subject of will- 


less knowledge, and as such they are both taken out of 
the stream of time and all other relations. It is then all 
one whether we see the sun set from the prison or from 
the palace. 

Inward disposition, the predominance of knowing over 
willing, can produce this state under any circumstances. 
This is shown by those admirable Dutch artists who 
directed this purely objective perception to the most 
insignificant objects, and established a lasting monument 
of their objectivity and spiritual peace in their pictures 
of still life, which the aesthetic beholder does not look on 
without emotion; for they present to him the peaceful, 
still, frame of mind of the artist, free from will, which 
was needed to contemplate such insignificant things so 
objectively, to observe them so attentively, and to repeat 
this perception so intelligently ; and as the picture enables 
the onlooker to participate in this state, his emotion is 
often increased by the contrast between it and the un- 
quiet frame of mind, disturbed by vehement willing, in 
which he finds himself. In the same spirit, landscape- 
painters, and particularly Euisdael, have often painted 
very insignificant country scenes, which produce the same 
effect even more agreeably. 

All this is accomplished by the inner power of an 
artistic nature alone ; but that purely objective disposi- 
tion is facilitated and assisted from without by suitable 
objects, by the abundance of natural beauty which invites 
contemplation, and even presses itself upon us. When- 
ever it discloses itself suddenly to our view, it almost 
always succeeds in delivering us, though it may be only 
for a moment, from subjectivity, from the slavery of the 
will, and in raising us to the state of pure knowing. 
This is why the man who is tormented by passion, or 
want, or care, is so suddenly revived, cheered, and restored 
by a single free glance into nature : the storm of passion, 
the pressure of desire and fear, and all the miseries of 
willing are then at once, and in a marvellous manner, 

256 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

calmed and appeased. For at the moment at which, 
freed from the will, we give ourselves up to pure will- 
less knowing, we pass into a world from which every- 
thing is absent that influenced our will and moved us 
so violently through it. This freeing of knowledge lifts 
us as wholly and entirely away from all that, as do 
sleep and dreams ; happiness and unhappiness have dis- 
appeared ; we are no longer individual ; the individual is 
forgotten ; we are only pure subject of knowledge ; we are 
only that one eye of the world which looks out from all 
knowing creatures, but which can become perfectly free 
from the service of will in man alone. Thus all difference 
of individuality so entirely disappears, that it is all the 
same whether the perceiving eye belongs to a mighty 
king or to a wretched beggar ; for neither joy nor com- 
plaining can pass that boundary with us. So near us 
always lies a sphere in which we escape from all our 
misery ; but who has the strength to continue long in it ? 
As soon as any single relation to our will, to our person, 
even of these objects of our pure contemplation, comes 
again into consciousness, the magic is at an end ; we fall 
back into the knowledge which is governed by the prin- 
ciple of sufficient reason ; we know no longer the Idea, 
but the particular thing, the link of a chain to which we 
also belong, and we are again abandoned to all our woe. 
Most men remain almost always at this standpoint 
because they entirely lack objectivity, i.e., genius. There- 
fore they have no pleasure in being alone with nature ; 
they need company, or at least a book. For their 
knowledge remains subject to their will ; they seek, there- 
fore, in objects, only some relation to their will, and when- 
ever they see anything that has no such relation, there 
sounds within them, like a ground bass in music, the 
constant inconsolable cry, " It is of no use to me ; " thus 
in solitude the most beautiful surroundings have for them 
a desolate, dark, strange, and hostile appearance. 

Lastly, it is this blessedness of will-less perception 


which casts an enchanting glamour over the past and 
distant, and presents them to us in so fair a light by 
means of self-deception. Tor as we think of days long 
gone by, days in which we lived in a distant place, it is 
only the objects which our fancy recalls, not the sub- 
ject of will, which bore about with it then its incurable 
sorrows just as it bears them now ; but they are forgotten, 
because since then they have often given place to others. 
Now, objective perception acts with regard to what is 
remembered just as it would in what is present, if we 
let it have influence over us, if we surrendered ourselves 
to it free from will. Hence it arises that, especially 
when we are more than ordinarily disturbed by some 
want, the remembrance of past and distant scenes 
suddenly flits across our minds like a lost paradise. 
The fancy recalls only what was objective, not what was 
individually subjective, and we imagine that that objec- 
tive stood before us then just as pure and undisturbed 
by any relation to the will as its image stands in our 
fancy now ; while in reality the relation of the objects 
to our will gave us pain then just as it does now. We 
can deliver ourselves from all suffering just as well 
through present objects as through distant ones when- 
ever we raise ourselves to a purely objective contempla- 
tion of them, and so are able to bring about the illusion 
that only the objects are present and not we ourselves. 
Then, as the pure subject of knowledge, freed from the 
miserable self, we become entirely one with these objects, 
and, for the moment, our wants are as foreign to us as 
they are to them. The world as idea alone remains, and 
the world as will has disappeared. , , 

In all these reflections it has been my object to bring 
out clearly the nature and the scope of the subjective 
element in aesthetic pleasure - the deliverance of know- 
ledge from the service of the will, the forgetting of self 
as an individual, and the raising of the consciousness to 
the pure will-less, timeless, subject of knowledge, in( 

vol. I. B 

i w> 1 r ' 



_£endent oQal l relations/ ) With this subjective side of 
aesthetic contemplation, there must always appear as its 
necessary correlative the objective side, the intuitive 
comprehension of the Platonic Idea. But before we 
turn to the closer consideration of this, and to the 
achievements of art in relation to it, it is better that we 
should pause for a little at the subjective side of aesthetic 
pleasure, in order to complete our treatment of this by 
explaining the impression of the sublime which depends 
altogether upon it, and arises from a modification of 
it. After that we shall complete our investigation of 
aesthetic pleasure by considering its objective side. 

But we must first add the following remarks to what 
has been said. Light is the pleasantest and most glad- 
dening of things ; it has become the symbol of all that 
is good and salutary. In all religions it symbolises sal- H 
vation, while darkness symbolises damnation. Ormuzd < 
dwells in the purest light, Ahrimines in eternal night. 
Dante's Paradise would look very much like Vauxhall 
in London, for all the blessed spirits appear as points of 
light and arrange themselves in regular figures. The 
very absence of light makes us sad ; its return cheers us. 
Colours excite directly a keen delight, which readies its 
highest degree when they are transparent. All this de- 
pends entirely upon the fact that light is the correlative 
and condition of the most perfect kind of knowledge of 
perception, the only knowledge which does not in any 
way affect the wilL For sight, unlike the affections of 
the other senses, cannot, in itself, directly and through its 
sensuous effect, make the sensation of the special organ 
agreeable or disagreeable ; that is, it has no immediate 
connection with the will. Such a quality can only be- 
long to the perception which arises in the understanding, 
and then it lies in the relation of the object to the wilL 
In the case of hearing this is to some extent otherwise; 
sounds can give pain directly, and they may also be 
sensuously agreeable, directly and without regard to 


harmony or melody. Touch, as one with the feeling of 
the whole body, is still more subordinated to this direct 
influence upon the will ; and yet there is such a thing as 
a sensation of touch which is neither painful nor pleasant. 
But smells are always either agreeable or disagreeable, 
and tastes still more so. Thus the last two senses are 
most closely related to the will, and therefore they are 
always the most ignoble, and have been called by Kant 
the subjective senses. The pleasure which we experience 
from light is in fact only the pleasure which arises 
from the objective possibility of the purest and fullest 
perceptive knowledge, and as such it may be traced to the 
fact that pure knowledge, freed and delivered from all 
will, is in the highest degree pleasant, and of itself con- 
stitutes a large part of aesthetic enjoyment. Again, we 
must refer to this view of light the incredible beauty 
which we associate with the reflection of objects in water. 
That lightest, quickest, finest species of the action of 
bodies upon each other, that to which we owe by far the 
completest and purest of our perceptions, the action of 
reflected rays of light, is here brought clearly before our 
eyes, distinct and perfect, in cause and in effect, and 
indeed in its entirety, hence the aesthetic delight it gives 
us, which, in the most important aspect, is entirely based 
on the subjective ground of aesthetic pleasure, and is 
delight in pure knowing and its method. 

§ 39. All these reflections are intended to bring out 
the subjective part of aesthetic pleasure ; that is to say, 
that pleasure so far as it consists simply of delight in jDer- 

c §I^JI£j^°^?^^ And as 

directly connected with this, there naturally follows the 
explanation of that disposition or frame of mind which 
has been called the sp.nsp. nf th n $>ihUmr._ 

We have already remarked above that the transition to 
the state of pure perception takes place most easily when 
the objects bend themselves to it, that is, when by their 
manifold and yet definite and distinct form they easily 


become representatives of their Ideas, in which beauty, in 
the objective sense, consists. This quality belongs pre- 
eminently to natural beauty, which thus affords even to 
the most insensible at least a fleeting aesthetic satisfaction : 
indeed it is so remarkable how especially the vegetable 
world invites aesthetic observation, and, as it were, 
presses itself upon it, that one might say, that these 
advances are connected with the fact that these organisms, 
unlike the bodies of animals, are not themselves immediate 
objects of knowledge, and therefore require the assistance 
of a foreign intelligent individual in order to rise out of 
f h£ w nr1 ^ nf blind will and enter the world of idea, and 
that thus they long, as it were, for this entrance, that 
they may attain at least indirectly what is denied them 
directly. But I leave this suggestion which I have 
hazarded, and which borders perhaps upon extravagance, 
entirely undecided, for only a very intimate and devoted 
consideration of nature can raise or justify it. 1 As long as 
that which raises us from the knowledge of mere relations 
subject to the will, to aesthetic contemplation, and thereby 
exalts us to the position of the subject of knowledge free 
from will, is this fittingness of nature, this significance 
and distinctness of its forms, on account of which the 
Ideas individualised in them readily present themselves 
to us ; so long is it merely beauty that affects us and the 
sense of the beautiful that is excited. But if these very 
objects whose significant forms invite us to pure contem- 

•plation, have a hostile relation to the human will in 
general, as it exhibits itself in its objectivity, the 
human body, if they are opposed to it, so that it is 
enaced by the irresistible predominance of their power, 
or sinks into insignificance before their immeasurable 


1 I am all the more delighted and varias, qutbus mundi hujus visibiUi 

astonished, forty years after I so ttructura formosa est, sentiendat 

timidly and hesitatingly advanced sensibus praebent ; ut, pro to quod 

this thought, to discover that it nosse non possunt, quasi innotbs- 

has already been expressed by St. cere veil* videantur. -De civ. Dei, 

Augustine : Arbusta formas sua* xi, 27. 


greatness ; if, nevertheless, the beholder does not direct 
his attention to this eminently hostile relation to his will, 
but, although perceiving and recognising it, turns con- 
sciously away from it, forcibly detaches himself from his^ 
will and its relations, and, giving himself up entirely to 
knowledge, quietly contemplates those very objects that 
\V 'are so terrible to the will, comprehends only their Idea, 
which is foreign to all relation, so that he lingers gladly 
over its contemplation, and is thereby raised above him- 
self, his person, his will, and all will : — in that case he 
is filled with the sense of the sublime, he is in the state 
of spiritual exaltation, and therefore the object produc- 
ing such a state is called sublime. Thus what dis- 
tinguishes the sense of the sublime from that of the 
beautiful is this: in the case of the beautiful, pure 
knowledge has gained the upper hand without a struggle, 
for the beauty of the object, i.e., that property which 
facilitates the knowledge of its Idea, has removed from 
consciousness without resistance, and therefore impercep- 
tibly, the will and the knowledge of relations which is 
subject to it, so that what is left is the pure subject of 
knowledge without even a remembrance of will. On the 
other hand, in the case of the sublime that state of pure 
knowledge is only attained by a conscious and forcible 
breaking away from the relations of the same object to 
the will, which are recognised as unfavourable, by a free 
and conscious transcending of the will and the knowledge 
related to it. 

This exaltation must not only be consciously won, but 
also consciously retained, and it is therefore accompanied 
by a constant remembrance of will ; yet not of a single 
particular volition, such as fear or desire, but of human 
volition in general, so far as it is universally expressed 
in its objectivity the human body. If a single real act 
of will were to come into consciousness, through actual 
personal pressure and danger from the object, then the 
individual will thus actually influenced would at once 

262 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. iil 

gain the upper hand, the peace of contemplation would 
become impossible, the impression of the sublime would 
be lost, because it yields to the anxiety , in which the 
effort of the individual to right itself has sunk every 
other thought. A few examples will help very much to 
elucidate thisJiieoxY-_oi_4he^sthetic su blime a nd remove 
all doubt with regard to it ; at the same time they will 
bring out the different degrees of this sense of the 
sublime. It is in the main identical with that of the 
beautiful, with purewilHes s know ing, and the knowledge, 
that necessarily accompanies it of Ideas out of all relation 
determined by the principle of sufficient reason, and it 
is distinguished from the sense of the beautiful only by 
the additional quality that it rises above the known 
hostile relation of the object contemplated to the will in 
general. Thus there come to be various degrees of the 
sublime, and transitions from the beautiful to the 
sublime, according as this additional quality is strong, 
bold, urgent, near, or weak, distant, and merely indicated. 
I think it is more in keeping with the plan of my 
treatise, first to give examples of these transitions, and 
of the weaker degrees of the impression of the sublime, 
although persons whose aesthetical susceptibility in general 
is not very great, and whose imagination is not very 
lively, will only understand the examples given later of 
the higher and more distinct grades of that impression ; 
and they should therefore confine themselves to these, 
and pass over the examples of the very weak degrees of 
the sublime that are to be given first. 

As man Js at once impetuo us and blind strivin g of 
will (whose pole or focus lies in the genital organs), jnd 
eternal, free,_gerene, juhject of _pure knowingj whose pole 
is the brain) ; so, corresponding to this antithesis, the sun 
is both the source of light, the condition of the most per- 
fect kind of knowledge, and therefore of the most delight- 
ful of things — and the source of warmth, the first condition 
of life, i.e., of all phenomena of will in its higher grades. 


Therefore, what warmth is for the will, light is for know- 
ledge. Light is the largest gem in the crown of beauty, 
and has the most marked influence on the knowledge of 
every beautiful object. Its presence is an indispensable 
condition of beauty ; its favourable disposition increases 
the beauty of the most beautiful. Architectural beauty 
more than any other object is enhanced by favourable 
light, though even the most insignificant things become 
through its influence most beautiful. If, in the dead of 
winter, when all nature is frozen and stiff, we see the 
rays of the setting sun reflected by masses of stone, 
illuminating without warming, and thus favourable only 
to the purest kind of knowledge, not to the will ; the 
contemplation of the beautiful effect of the light upon 
these masses lifts us, as does all beauty, into a state of 
pure knowing. But, in this case, a^ertain transcending 
of T thp. interests of the will is needed to enable us to rise 
into the state of pure knowing, because there is a faint 
recollection of the lack of warmth from these rays, that 
is, an absence of the principle of life ; there is a slight 
challenge to persist in pure knowing, and to refrain from 
all willing, and therefore it is an example of a tran- 
sition from the sense of the beautiful to that of the 
sublime. It is the faintest trace of the sublime in 
the beautiful; and beauty itself is indeed present only 
in a slight degree. The following is almost as weak an 

Let us imagine ourselves transported to a very lonely 
place, with unbroken horizon, under a cloudless sky, 
trees and plants in the perfectly motionless air, no 
animals, no men, no running water, the deepest silence. 
Such surroundings are, as it were, a call to seriousness 
and contemplation, apart from all will and its cravings ; 
but this is just what imparts to such a scene of desolate 
stillness a touch of the sublime. For, because it affords 
no object, either favourable or unfavourable, for the will 
which is constantly in need of striving and attaining, 

264 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

there only remains the state of pure contemplation, and 
whoever is incapable of this, is ignominiously abandoned 
to the vacancy of unoccupied will, and the misery of 
ennui. So far it is a test of our intellectual worth, of 
which, generally speaking, the degree of our power of 
enduring solitude, or our love of it, is a good criterion. 
The scene we have sketched affords us, then, an example 
of the sublime in a low degree, for in it, with the 
state of pure knowing in its peace and all-sufficiency, 
there is mingled, by way of contrast, the recollection of 
the dependence and poverty of the will which stands in 
need of constant action. This is the species of the sub- 
lime for which the sight of the boundless prairies of the 
interior of North America is celebrated. 

But let us suppose such a scene, stripped also of vege- 
tation, and showing only naked rocks; then from the 
entire absence of that organic life which is necessary 
for existence, the will at once becomes uneasy, the desert 
assumes a terrible aspect, our mood becomes more tragic ; 
the elevation to the sphere of pure knowing takes place 
with a more decided tearing of ourselves away from the 
interests of the will ; and because we persist in continu- 
ing in the state of pure knowing, the sense of the sub- 
lime distinctly appears. 

The following situation may occasion this feeling in a 
still higher degree : Nature convulsed by a storm ; the 
sky darkened by black threatening thunder-clouds ; stu- 
pendous, naked, overhanging cliffs, completely shutting 
out the view ; rushing, foaming torrents ; absolute desert ; 
the wail of the wind sweeping through the clefts of the 
rocks. Our dependence, our strife with hostile nature, 
our will broken in the conflict, now appears visibly before 
our eyes. Yet, so long as the personal pressure does not 
gain the upper hand, but we continue in aesthetic con- 
templation, the pure subject of knowing gazes unshaken 
and unconcerned through that strife of nature, through 
that picture of the broken will, and quietly comprehends 


the Ideas even of those objects which are threatening 
and terrible to the will. In this contrast lies the sense 
of the sublime. 

But the impression becomes still stronger, if, when we 
have before our eyes, on a large scale, the battle of the 
raging elements, in such a scene we are prevented from 
hearing the sound of our own voice by the noise of a 
falling stream; or, if we are abroad in the storm of 
tempestuous seas, where the mountainous waves rise and 
fall, dash themselves furiously against steep cliffs, and 
toss their spray high into the air ; the storm howls, the 
sea boils, the lightning flashes from black clouds, and 
the peals of thunder drown the voice of storm and sea. 
Then, in the undismayed beholder, the two-fold nature of 
his consciousness reaches the highest degree of distinct- 
ness. He perceives himself, on the one hand, as an in- 
dividual, as the frail phenomenon of will, which the 
slightest touch of these forces can utterly destroy, help- 
less against powerful nature, dependent, the victim of 
chance, a vanishing nothing in the presence of stupendous 
might ; and, on the other hand, as the eternal, peaceful, 
knowing subject, the condition of the object, and, there- 
fore, the supporter of this whole world ; the terrific strife 
of nature only his idea ; the subject itself free and apart 
from all desires and necessities, in the quiet comprehen- 
sion of the Ideas. This is the complete impression of 
the sublime. Here he obtains a glimpse o f _a power 
beyond all^ com pariRnn superior to the individual threat- 
e ning it with annihilation . 

The impression of the sublime may be produced in 
quite another way, by presenting a mere immensity in 
space and time ; its immeasurable greatness dwindles the 
individual to nothing. Adhering to Kant's nomenclature 
and his accurate division, we may call the first kind the 
(lyjiamicaV and the second the^malheinaMcal^^ublimg, 
although we entirely dissent from his explanation of the 
inner nature of the impression, and can allow no share 

266 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

in it either to moral reflections, or to hypostases from 
scholastic philosophy. 

If we lose ourselves in the contemplation of the 
infinite greatness of the universe in space and time, 
meditate on the thousands of years that are past or to 
come, or if the heavens at night actually bring before 
our eyes innumerable worlds and so force upon our 
consciousness the immensity of the universe, we feel 
ourselves dwindle to nothing; as individuals, as living 
bodies, as transient phenomena of will, we feel ourselves 
pass away and vanish into nothing like drops in the 
ocean. But at once there rises against this ghost of our 
own nothingness, against such lying impossibility, the 
immediate consciousness that all these worlds exist only 
as our idea, only as modifications of the eternal subject 
of pure knowing, which we find ourselves to be as soon 
as we forget our individuality, and which is the neces- 
sary supporter of all worlds and all times the condition 
of their possibility. The vastness of Jjie_world which 
disquieted us before, rests now in us ; our dependence 

nj)on_-it 1R an mill pd by it,q dppp.ndpn p.p. iipnn, U,% All 

this, however, does not come at once into reflection, 
but shows itself merely as the felt consciousness that 
in some sense or other (which philosophy alone can 
explain) wp arp nnp with thp. worl d, and therefore not 
oppressed, but exalted by its immensity. It is the felt 
consciousness of this that the Upanishads of the Vedas 
repeatedly express in such a multitude of different ways ; 
very admirably in the saying already quoted : Hce omnes 
creatures in totum ego sum, et prater vie aliud ens non est 
(Oupnek'hat, vol. i. p. 122.) It is the transcending of 
our own individuality, the sense of the sublime. 

We receive this impression of the mathematical-sublime, 
quite directly, by means of a space which is small indeed 
as compared with the world, but winch has become 
directly perceptible to us, and aifects us with its whole 
extent in all its three dimensions, so as to make our own 


body seem almost infinitely small. An empty space can 
never be th us jperceived, and therefore never an open 
space, but only space that is directly perceptible in all 
its jiimensions„,by means of the limits which enclose Jl; 
thus for example a very high, vast dome, like that of St. 
Peter's at Eome, or St. Paul's in London. The sense of 
the sublime here arises through the consciousness of the 
vanishing nothingness of our own body in the presence 
of a vastness which, from another point of view, itself 
exists only in our idea, and of which we are as knowing 
subject, the supporter. Thus here as everywhere it arises" 1 
from the contrast between the insignificance and depend- 
ence of ourselves as individuals, as phenomena of will, 
and the consciousness of ourselves as pure subject o£ 
knowing. Even the vault of the starry heaven produces 
this if it is cpntejnjpiaied^ ; but just in 

the same way as the vault of stone, and only by its 
apparent, not its reaL extent. Some objects of our per- 
ception excite in us the feeling of the sublime because, 
not only on account of their spatial vastness, but also of 
their great age, that is, their temporal duration, we feel 
ourselves dwarfed to insignificance in their presence, and 
yet revel in the pleasure of contemplating them : of this 
kind are very high mountains, the Egyptian pyramids, 
and colossal ruins of great antiquity. 

Our explanation of the sublime applies also to the 
ethical, to what is called the sublime character. Such a 
character arises from this, that the will is not excited by 
objects which are well calculated to excite it, but that 
knowledge retains the upper hand in their presence. A 
man of sublime character will accordingly consider men 
in a purely objective way, and not with reference to the 
relations which they might have to his will ; he will, for 
example, observe their faults, even their hatred and 
injustice to himself, without being himself excited to 
hatred ; he will behold their happiness without envy ; he 
will recognise their good qualities without desiring any 

268 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

closer relations with them ; he will perceive the beauty 
of women, but he will not desire them. His personal 
happiness or unhappiness will not greatly affect him, he 
will rather be as Hamlet describes Horatio : — 

"... for thou hast been, 
As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing ; 
A man that fortune's buffets and rewards 
Hast ta'en with equal thanks," &c (A. 3. Sc. 2.) 

For in the course of his own life and its misfortunes, he 
will consider less his individual lot than that of humanity 
in general, and will therefore conduct himself in its regard, 
rather as knowing than as suffering. 

§ 40. Opposites throw light upon each other, and 
therefore the remark may be in place here, that the 
proper opposite of the sublime is something which would 
not at the first glance be recognised, as such : the charm- 
ing or attractive. By this, however, I understand, that 
which excites the will by presenting to it directly its 
1 lulfilment, its satisfaction. We saw that the feeling of 
the sublime arises from the fact, that something entirely 
unfavourable to the will, becomes the object of pure con- 
templation, so that such contemplation can only be main- 
tained by persistently turning away from the will, and 
transcending its interests ; this constitutes the sublimity 
of the character. The charming or attractive, on the con- 
trary, draws the beholder away from the pure contem- 
plation which is demanded by all apprehension of the 
beautiful, because it necessarily excites this will, by 
objects which directly appeal to it, and thus he no longer 
remains pure subject of knowing, but becomes the needy 
and dependent subject of will. That every beautiful 
thing which is bright or cheering should be called charm- 
ing, is the result of a too general concept, which arises 
from a want of accurate discrimination, and which I 
must entirely set aside, and indeed condemn. But in the 
sense of the word which has been given and explained, I 


find only two species of the charming or attractive in the 
province of art, and both of them are unworthy of it. 
The one species, a very low one, is found in Dutch paint- 
ings of still life, when they err by representing articles 
of food, which by their deceptive likeness necessarily 
excite the appetite for the things they represent, and 
this is just an excitement of the will, which puts an end 
to all aesthetic contemplation of the object. Painted 
fruit is yet admissible, because we may regard it as the 
further development of the flower, and as a beautiful 
product of nature in form and colour, without being 
obliged to think of it as eatable ; but unfortunately we 
often find, represented with deceptive naturalness, pre- 
pared and served dishes, oysters, herrings, crabs, bread 
and butter, beer, wine, and so forth, which is altogether 
to be condemned. In historical painting and in sculp- 
ture the charming consists in naked figures, whose 
position, drapery, and general treatment are calculated 
to excite the passions of the beholder, and thus pure 
sesthetical contemplation is at once annihilated, and the 
aim of art is defeated. This mistake corresponds exactly 
to that which we have just censured in the Dutch paint- 
ings. The ancients are almost always free from this 
fault in their representations of beauty and complete 
nakedness of form, because the artist himself created 
them in a purely objective spirit, filled with ideal beauty, 
not in the spirit of subjective, and base sensuality. The 
charming is thus everywhere to be avoided in art. 

There is also a negative species of the charming or 
exciting which is even more reprehensible than the posi- 
tive form which has been discussed ; this is the disgust- 
ing or the loathsome. It arouses the will of the beholder, 
just as what is properly speaking charming, and therefore 
disturbs pure aesthetic contemplation. But it is an active 
aversion and opposition which is excited by it ; it arouses 
the will by presenting to it objects which it abhors. 
Therefore it has always been recognised that it is 



altogether inadmissible in art, where even what is u<*ly, 
when it is not disgusting, is allowable in its proper place, 
as we shall see later. 

§ 41. The course of the discussion has made it 
necessary to insert at this point the treatment of the 
sublime, though we have only half done with the beauti- 
ful, as we have considered its subjective side only. For 
it was merely a special modification of this subjective 
side that distinguished the beautiful from the sublime. 
This difference was found to depend upon whether the 
state of pure will-less knowing, which is presupposed 
and demanded by all aesthetic contemplation, was reached 
without opposition, by the mere disappearance of the will 
from consciousness, because the object invited and drew 
us towards it ; or whether it was only attained through 
the free, conscious transcending of the will, to which the 
object contemplated had an unfavourable and even hostile 
relation, which would destroy contemplation altogether, 
if we were to give ourselves up to it. This is the dis- 
tinction between the beautiful and the sublima In the 
object they are not essentially different, for in every case 
the object of aesthetical contemplation is not the individual 
thing, but the Idea in it which is striving to reveal itself; 
that is to say, adequate objectivity of will at a particular 
grade. Its necessary correlative, independent, like itself 
of the principle of sufficient reason, is the pure subject 
of knowing ; just as the correlative of the particular thing 
is the knowing individual, both of which lie within the 
province of the principle of sufficient reason. 

When we say that a thing is beautiful, we thereby 
assert that it is an object of our aesthetic contemplation, 
and this has a double meaning; on the one hand it 
means that the sight of the thing makes us objective, that 
is to say, that in contemplating it we are no longer con- 
scious of ourselves as individuals, but as pure will-less 
subjects of knowledge ; and on the other hand it means 
that we recognise in the object, not the particular thing, 


but an Idea ; and this can only happen, so far as our 
contemplation of it is not subordinated to the principle 
of sufficient reason, does not follow the relation of the 
object to anything outside it (which is always ultimately 
connected with relations to our own will), but rests in 
the object itself. For the Idea and the pure subject of 
knowledge always appear at once in consciousness as 
necessary correlatives, and on their appearance all dis- 
tinction of time vanishes, for they are both entirely 
foreign to the principle of sufficient reason in all its 
forms, and lie outside the relations which are imposed 
by it; they may be compared to the rainbow and the 
sun, which have no part in the constant movement and 
succession of the falling drops. Therefore, if, for example,^ 
I contemplate a tree aesthetically, i.e., with artistic eyes, 
and thus recognise, not it, but its Idea, it becomes at once 
of no consequence whether it is this tree or its predecessor 
which flourished a thousand years ago, and whether the 
observer is this individual or any other that lived any- 
where and at any time; the particular thing and the 
knowing individual are abolished with the principle of 
sufficient reason, and there remains nothing but the Idea 
and the pure subject of knowing, which together consti- 
tute the adequate objectivity of will at this grade. And 
the Idea dispenses not only with time, but also with ■ 
space, for the Idea proper is not this special form which 
appears before me but its expression, its pure significance, 
its inner being, which discloses itself to me and appeals 
to me, and which may be quite the same though the 
spatial relations of its form be very different. 

Since, on the one hand, every given thing may be 
observed in a purely objective manner and apart from 
all relations ; and since, on the other hand, the will 
manifests itself in everything at some grade of its ob- J 
jectivity, so that everything is the expression of an Idea ; 
it follows that everything is also beautiful. That even 
the most insignificant things admit of pure objective and 

272 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. iil 

will-less contemplation, and thus prove that they are 
beautiful, is shown by what was said above in this refer- 
ence about the Dutch pictures of still-life (§ 38). But 
one thing is more beautiful than another, because it 
makes this pure objective contemplation easier, it lends 
itself to it, and, so to speak, even compels it, and then 
we call it very beautiful. This is the case sometimes 
because, as an individual thing, it expresses in its purity 
the Idea of its species by the very distinct, clearly de- 
fined, and significant relation of its parts, and also fully 
reveals that Idea through the completeness of all the 
possible expressions of its species united in it, so that it 
makes the transition from the individual thing to the 
Idea, and therefore also the condition of pure contem- 
plation, very easy for the beholder. Sometimes this pos- 
session of special beauty in an object lies in the fact 
^that the Idea itself which appeals to us in it is a 
high grade of the objectivity of will, and therefore very 
significant and expressive. Therefore it is that man is 
more beautiful than all other objects, and the revelation 
of his nature is the highest aim of art. Human form 
and expression are the most important objects of plastic 
art, and human action the most important object of 
poetry. Yet each thing has its own peculiar beauty, 
not only every organism which expresses itself in the 
unity of an individual being, but also everything unor- 
ganised and formless, and even every manufactured article. 
For all these reveal the Ideas through which the will 
objectifies itself at it lowest grades, they give, as it were, 
the deepest resounding bass-notes of nature. Gravity, 
rigidity, fluidity, light, and so forth, are the Ideas 
which express themselves in rocks, in buildings, in 
waters. Landscape-gardening or architecture can do no 
more than assist them to unfold their qualities distinctly, 
fully, and variously ; they can only give them the oppor- 
tunity of expressing themselves purely, so that they lend 
themselves to aesthetic contemplation and make it easier. 


Inferior buildings or ill-favoured localities, on the con- 
trary, which nature has neglected or art has spoiled, 
perform this task in a very slight degree or not at all ; 
yet even from them these universal, fundamental Ideas 
of nature cannot altogether disappear. To the careful 
observer they present themselves here also, and even bar' 
buildings and the like are capable of being aesthetically 
considered ; the Ideas of the most universal properties of 
their materials are still recognisable in them, only the 
artificial form which has been given them does not 
assist but hinders aesthetic contemplation. Manufactured 
articles also serve to express Ideas, only it is not the 
Idea of the manufactured article which speaks in them, 
but the Idea of the material to which this artificial form 
has been given. This may be very conveniently ex- 
pressed in two words, in the language of the schoolmen, 
thus, — the manufactured article expresses the Idea of its 
forma substantial, but not that of its forma accidentalis ; 
the latter leads to no Idea, but only to a human concep- 
tion of which it is the result. It is needless to say that 
by manufactured article no work of plastic art is meant. 
The schoolmen understand, in fact, by forma substantial™ 
that which I call the grade of the objectification of will 
in a thing. We shall return immediately, when we treat 
of architecture, to the Idea of the material. Our view, 
then, cannot be reconciled with that of Plato if he is 
of opinion that a table or a chair express the Idea 
of a table or a chair (De Rep., x., pp. 284, 285, et 
Parmen., p. 79, ed. Bip.), but we say that they express 
the Ideas which are already expressed in their mere 
material as such. According to Aristotle (Metap. xi., 
chap. 3), however, Plato himself only maintained Ideas 
of natural objects : IlXarcov 6<fyr], on 6*877 eariv oiroaa 
<f>v<7€i (Plato dixit, quod idece eorum sunt, quce natura sunt), 
and in chap. 5 he says that, according to the Platonists, 
there are no Ideas of house and ring. In any case, 
Plato's earliest disciples, as Alcinous informs us (Intro- 
vol. 1. s 

274 THE WORLD AS IDEA. BK. ill. 

ductio in Platonicam rhilosophiam, chap. 9), denied that 
there were any ideas of manufactured articles. He says: 
'Opi^ovTat, Se ttjv ibeav, irapaBeiyfia tcov Kara <f>voiv 
aicoviov. Ovre yap tow TrXeicrrow tcov otto ILXaTCOvos 
apeatcei, tcov Tzyyinwv eivai t8ea?, oiov aaniho^ t] \vpas, 
ovre firjv tcov irapa cf>vo~iv, oiov nrvpcTov km yoXepas, 
ovre tcov kclto, fiepos, oiov XcotcpaTovs teat, IlXaTcovos, 
cfiOC ovre tcov evTeKcov t«/o?, oiov pvnov Kai /capfovs, 
ovt€ tcov 7rpo? ti } oiov fieityvos /cat virepe^ovTo^' eivai 
yap Ta9 iScas vorjo-eis Beov aicoviov; t€ icai avTOTekei? 
{Definiunt autem IDEAM exemplar ceternum eorum, qua 
secundum naturam existunt. Nam plurimis ex iis } qui 
Platonem secuti sunt, minime placuit, arte faciendum ideas 
esse, ut clypei atque lyraz ; neque rursus eorum, quce prater 
naturam f ut febris et cholera, neque particularium, ceu 
Socratis et Platonis ; neque etiam rerum vilium, vehiti 
sordium et festuca ; neque relationum, ut majoris et 
excedentis : esse namque ideas intellectiones dei aternas, 
ac seipsis perfectas). We may take this opportunity of 
mentioning another point in which our doctrine of Ideas 
differs very much from that of Plato. He teaches (De 
Rep., x., p. 288) that the object which art tries to 
express, the ideal of painting and poetry, is not the Idea 
but the particular thing. Our whole exposition hitherto 
has maintained exactly the opposite, and Plato's opinion 
is the less likely to lead us astray, inasmuch as it is the 
source of one of the greatest and best known errors of 
this great man, his depreciation and rejection of art, and 
especially poetry ; he directly connects his false judgment 
in reference to this with the passage quoted. 

§42. I return to the exposition of the aesthetic 
impression. The knowledge of the beautiful always 
supposes at once and inseparably the pure knowing 
subject and the known Idea as object. Yet the source 
of aesthetic satisfaction will sometimes lie more in the 
comprehension of the known Idea, sometimes more in the 
blessedness and spiritual peace of the pure knowing sub- 


ject freed from all willing, and therefore from all individ- 
uality, and the pain that proceeds from it. And, indeed, 
this predominance of one or the other constituent part of 
aesthetic feeling will depend upon whether the intuitively 
grasped Idea is a higher or a lower grade of the objec- 
tivity of will. Thus in aesthetic contemplation (in the 
real, or through the medium of art) of the beauty of 
nature in the inorganic and vegetable worlds, or in works 
of architecture, the pleasure of pure will -less knowing 
will predominate, because the Ideas which are here 
apprehended are only low grades of the objectivity of 
will, and are therefore not manifestations of deep signifi- 
cance and rich content. On the other hand, if animals 
and man are the objects of aesthetic contemplation or 
representation, the pleasure will consist rather in the 
comprehension of these Ideas, which are the most distinct 
revelation of will ; for they exhibit the greatest multi- 
plicity of forms, the greatest richness and deep significance 
of phenomena, and reveal to us most completely the 
nature of will, whether in its violence, its terribleness, its 
satisfaction or its aberration (the latter in tragic situations), 
or finally in its change and self-surrender, which is the_ 
peculiar theme of christian painting ; as the Idea of the 
will enlightened by full knowledge is the object of 
historical painting in general, and of the drama. We 
shall now go through the fine arts one by one, and this 
will give completeness and distinctness to the theory of 
the beautiful which we have advanced. 

§ 43. Matter as such cannot be the expression of an 
Idea. For, as we found in the first book, it is throughout 
nothing but casuality: its being consists in its casual 
action. But casuality is a form of the principle of 
sufficient reason ; knowledge of the Idea, on the other 
hand, absolutely excludes the content of that principle. 
We also found, in the second book, that matter is the 
common substratum of all particular phenomena of the 
Ideas, and consequently is the connecting link between 

276 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. in 

the Idea and the phenomenon, or the particular thing. 
Accordingly for both of these reasons it is impossible that 
matter can for itself express any Idea. This is confirmed 
a posteriori by the fact that it is impossible to have a per- 
ceptible idea of matter as such, but only an abstract 
conception ; in the former, i.e., in perceptible ideas are 
exhibited only the forms and qualities of which matter is 
the supporter, and in all of which Ideas reveal themselves. 
This corresponds also with the fact, that casuality (the 
whole essence of matter) cannot for itself be presented 
perceptibly, but is merely a definite casual connection. 
On the other hand, every phenomenon of an Idea, because 
as such it has entered the form of the principle of 
sufficient reason, or the principium individuationis, must 
exhibit itself in matter, as one of its qualities. So far 
then matter is, as we have said, the connecting link 
between the Idea and the principium individuationis, which 
is the form of knowledge of the individual, or the prin- 
ciple of sufficient reason. Plato is therefore perfectly 
right in his enumeration, for after the Idea and the 
phenomenon, which include all other things in the 
world, he gives matter only, as a third thing which is 
different from both (Timaus, p. 345). The individual, 
as a phenomenon of the Idea, is always matter. Every 
quality of matter is also the phenomenon of an Idea, and 
as such it may always be an object of aesthetic contem- 
plation, i.e., the Idea expressed in it may always be recog- 
nised. This holds good of even the most universal 
qualities of matter, without which it never appears, and 
which are the weakest objectivity of will. Such are 
gravity, cohesion, rigidity, fluidity, sensitiveness to light, 
and so forth. 

If now we consider architecture simply as a fine art 
and apart from its application to useful ends, in which it 
serves the will and not pure knowledge, and therefore 
ceases to be art in our sense ; we can assign to it no 
other aim than that of bringing to greater distinctness 


some of those ideas, which are the lowest grades of the 
objectivity of will ; such as gravity, cohesion, rigidity, 
hardness, those universal qualities of stone, those first, 
simplest, most inarticulate manifestations of will ; the bass 
notes of nature; and after these light, which in many 
respects is their opposite. Even at these low grades 
of the objectivity of will we see its nature revealing 
itself in discord ; for properly speaking the conflicc 
between gravity and rigidity is the sole aesthetic material 
of architecture; its problem is to make this conflict 
appear with perfect distinctness in a multitude of different 
ways. It solves it by depriving these indestructible 
forces of the shortest way to their satisfaction, and con- 
ducting them to it by a circuitous route, so that the con- 
flict is lengthened and the inexhaustible efforts of both 
forces become visible in many different ways. The whole 
mass of the building, if left to its original tendency, 
would exhibit a mere heap or clump, bound as closely as 
possible to the earth, to which gravity, the form in which 
the will appears here, continually presses, while rigidity, 
also objectivity of will, resists. But this very tendency, 
this effort, is hindered by architecture from obtaining 
direct satisfaction, and only allowed to reach it indirectly 
and by roundabout ways. The roof, for example, can 
only press the earth through columns, the arch must sup- 
port itself, and can only satisfy its tendency towards the 
earth through the medium of the pillars, and so forth. 
But just by these enforced digressions, just by these 
restrictions, the forces which reside in the crude mass of 
stone unfold themselves in the most distinct and multi- 
farious ways ; and the purely sesthetic aim of architecture 
can go no further than this. Therefore the beauty, at 
any rate, of a building lies in the obvious adaptation of 
every part, not to the outward arbitrary end of man (so 
far the work belongs to practical architecture), but 
directly to the stability of the whole, to which the posi- 
tion, dimensions, and form of every part must have so 


necessary a relation that, where it is possible, if any one 
part were taken away, the whole would fall to pieces. 
For just because each part bears just as much as it 
conveniently can, and each is supported just where it 
requires to be and just to the necessary extent, this 
opposition unfolds itself, this conflict between rigidity and 
gravity, which constitutes the life, the manifestation of will, 
in the stone, becomes completely visible, and these lowest 
grades of the objectivity of will reveal themselves dis- 
tinctly. In the same way the form of each part must not 
be determined arbitrarily, but by its end, and its relation 
to the whole. The column is the simplest form of support, 
determined simply by its end : the twisted column is taste- 
less ; the four-cornered pillar is in fact not so simple as 
the round column, though it happens that it is easier to 
make it. The forms also of frieze, rafter, roof, and dome 
are entirely determined by their immediate end, and 
explain themselves from it. The decoration of capitals, 
&c, belongs to sculpture, not to architecture, which 
tidmits it merely as extraneous ornament, and could 
dispense with it. According to what has been said, it is 
absolutely necessary, in order to understand the aesthetic 
satisfaction afforded by a work of architecture, to have 
immediate knowledge through perception of its matter as 
regards its weight, rigidity, and cohesion, and our pleasure 
in such a work would suddenly be very much diminished 
by the discovery that the material used was pumice-stone; 
for then it would appear to us as a kind of sham build- 
ing. We would be affected in almost the same way if 
we were told that it was made of wood, when we had 
supposed it to be of stone, just because this alters and 
destroys the relation between rigidity and gravity, and 
consequently the significance and necessity of all the 
parts, for these natural forces reveal themselves in a far 
weaker degree in a wooden building. Therefore no real 
work of architecture as a fine art can be made of wood, 
although it assumes all forms so easily ; this can only be 


explained by our theory. If we were distinctly told that 
a building, the sight of which gave us pleasure, was 
made of different kinds of material of very unequal 
weight and consistency, but not distinguishable to the 
eye, the whole building would become as utterly inca- 
pable of affording us pleasure as a poem in an unknown 
language. All this proves that architecture does not 
affect us mathematically, but also dynamically, and that 
what speaks to us through it, is not mere form and 
symmetry, but rather those fundamental forces of nature, 
those first Ideas, those lowest grades of the objectivity 
of will. The regularity of the building and its parts is 
partly produced by the direct adaptation of each member 
to the stability of the whole, partly it serves to facilitate 
the survey and comprehension of the whole, and finally, 
regular figures to some extent enhance the beauty be- 
cause they reveal the constitution of space as such. But 
all this is of subordinate value and necessity, and by no 
means the chief concern ; indeed, symmetry is not in- 
variably demanded, as ruins are still beautiful. 

Works of architecture have further quite a special 
relation to light; they gain a double beauty in the full 
sunshine, with the blue sky as a background, and again 
they have quite a different effect by moonlight. There- 
fore, when a beautiful work of architecture is to be 
erected, special attention is always paid to the effects of 
the light and to the climate. The reason of all this is, 
indeed, principally that all the parts and their relations 
are only made clearly visible by a bright, strong light ; 
but besides this I am of opinion that it is the function 
of architecture to reveal the nature of light just as it 
reveals that of things so opposite to it as gravity and 
rigidity. For the light is intercepted, confined, and 
reflected by the great opaque, sharply outlined, and 
variously formed masses of stone, and thus it unfolds 
its nature and qualities in the purest and clearest way, 
to the great pleasure of the beholders, for light is the 

2&> THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. iil 

most joy-giving of things, as the condition and the 
objective correlative of the most perfect kind of know- 
ledge of perception. 

Now, because the Ideas which architecture brings to 
clear perception, are the lowest grades of the objectivity 
of will, and consequently their objective significance, 
which architecture reveals to us, is comparatively small ; 
the aesthetic pleasure of looking at a beautiful building 
in a good light will lie, not so much in the comprehen- 
sion of the Idea, as in the subjective correlative which 
accompanies this comprehension; it will consist pre- 
eminently in the fact that the beholder, set free from the 
kind of knowledge that belongs to the individual, and 
which serves the will and follows the principle of suffi- 
cient reason, is raised to that of the pure subject of 
knowing free from will. It will consist then principally 
in pure contemplation itself, free from all the suffering of 
will and of individuality. In this respect the opposite 
of architecture, and the other extreme of the series of 
the fine arts, is the drama, which brings to knowledge 
the most significant Ideas. Therefore in the aesthetic 
pleasure afiorded by the drama the objective side is 
throughout predominant. 

-^ Architecture has this distinction from plastic art and 
poetry : it does not give us a copy but the thing itself. 
It does not repeat, as they do, the known Idea, so that 
the artist lends his eyes to the beholder, but in it the artist 
merely presents the object to the beholder, and facilitates 
for him the comprehension of the Idea by bringing the 
actual, individual object to a distinct and complete expres- 
sion of its nature. 

Unlike the works of the other arts, those of architec- 
. ture are very seldom executed for purely aesthetic ends. 
These are generally subordinated to other useful ends 
which are foreign to art itself. Thus the great merit of 
the architect consists in achieving and attaining the pure 
aesthetic ends, in spite of their subordination to other 


ends which are foreign to them. This he does by 
cleverly adapting them in a variety of ways to the 
arbitrary ends in view, and by rightly judging which form 
of aesthetical architectonic beauty is compatible and may 
be associated with a temple, which with a palace, which 
with a prison, and so forth. The more a harsh climate 
increases these demands of necessity and utility, deter- 
mines them definitely, and prescribes them more inevi- 
tably, the less free play has beauty in architecture. In 
the mild climate of India, Egypt, Greece, and Eome, 
where the demands of necessity were fewer and less 
definite, architecture could follow its aesthetic ends with 
the greatest freedom. But under a northern sky this 
was sorely hindered. Here, when caissons, pointed roofs 
and towers were what was demanded, architecture could 
only unfold its own beauty within very narrow limits, 
and therefore it was obliged to make amends by resorting 
all the more to the borrowed ornaments of sculpture, as 
is seen in Gothic architecture. 

We thus see that architecture is greatly restricted by 
the demands of necessity and utility ; but on the other 
hand it has in them a very powerful support, for, on 
account of the magnitude and costliness of its works, and 
the narrow sphere of its aesthetic effect, it could not con- 
tinue to exist merely as a fine art, if it had not also, as a 
useful and necessary profession, a firm and honourable 
place among the occupations of men. It is the want 
of this that prevents another art from taking its place 
beside architecture as a sister art, although in an 
aesthetical point of view it is quite properly to be classed 
along with it as its counterpart ; I mean artistic arrange- 
ments of water. For what architecture accomplishes 
for the Idea of gravity when it appears in connection 
with that of rigidity, hydraulics accomplishes for the 
same Idea, when it is connected with fluidity, i.e., 
formlessness, the greatest mobility and transparency. 
Leaping waterfalls foaming and tumbling over rocks, 



cataracts dispersed into floating spray, springs gushing 
up as high columns of water, and clear reflecting lakes, 
reveal the Ideas of fluid and heavy matter, in precisely 
the same way as the works of architecture unfold the 
Ideas of rigid matter. Artistic hydraulics, however, 
obtains no support from practical hydraulics, for, as a 
rule, their ends cannot be combined ; yet, in exceptional 
cases, this happens ; for example, in the Cascata di Trevi 
at Eome. 1 

§ 44. What the two arts we have spoken of accom- 
plish for these lowest grades of the objectivity of will, 
is performed for the higher grades of vegetable nature 
I by artistic horticulture. The landscape beauty of a 
scene consists, for the most part, in the multiplicity of 
natural objects which are present in it, and then in the 
fact that they are clearly separated, appear distinctly, 
and yet exhibit a fitting connection and alternation. 
These two conditions are assisted and promoted by land- 
scape-gardening, but it has by no means such a mastery 
over its material as architecture, and therefore its effect 
is limited. The beauty with which it is concerned 
belongs almost exclusively to nature ; it has done little 
for it ; and, on the other hand, it can do little against 
unfavourable nature, and when nature works, not for it, 
but against it, its achievements are small. 

The vegetable world offers itself everywhere for aesthe- 
tic enjoyment without the medium of art ; but so far as 
it is an object of art, it belongs principally to landscape- 
/ painting ; to the province of which all the rest of uncon- 
scious nature also belongs. In paintings of still life, and 
of mere architecture, ruins, interiors of churches, &c, the 
subjective side of aesthetic pleasure is predominant, i.e., 
our satisfaction does not lie principally in the direct com- 
prehension of the represented Ideas, but rather in the 
subjective correlative of this comprehension, pure, will- 
less knowing. For, because the painter lets us see these 

1 Cf. Chap. 35 of Supplement 


things through his eyes, we at once receive a sympathe- 
tic and reflected sense of the deep spiritual peace and 
absolute silence of the will, which were necessary in 
order to enter with knowledge so entirely into these life- 
less objects, and comprehend them with such love, i.e., 
in this case with such a degree of objectivity. The effect 
of landscape-painting proper is indeed, as a whole, of this 
kind ; but because the Ideas expressed are more distinct 
and significant, as higher grades of the objectivity of 
will, the objective side of aesthetic pleasure already comes 
more to the front and assumes as much importance as the 
subjective side. Pure knowing as such is no longer the 
paramount consideration, for we are equally affected by 
the known Platonic Idea, the world as idea at an import- 
ant grade of the objectification of will. 

But a far higher grade is revealed by animal painting 
and sculpture. Of the latter we have some important 
antique remains ; for example, horses at Venice, on Monte 
Cavallo, and on the Elgin Marbles, also at Florence in 
bronze and marble; the ancient boar, howling wolves, 
the lions in the arsenal at Venice, also in the Vatican a 
whole room almost filled with ancient animals, &c. In 
these representations the objective side of aesthetic plea- 
sure obtains a marked predominance over the subjective. 
The peace of the subject which knows these Ideas, which 
has silenced its own will, is indeed present, as it is in all 
aesthetic contemplation ; but its effect is not felt, for we 
are occupied with the restlessness and impetuosity of the 
will represented. It is that very will, which constitutes 
our own nature, that here appears to us in forms, in 
which its manifestation is not, as in us, controlled and 
tempered by intellect, but exhibits itself in stronger 
traits, and with a distinctness that borders on the 
grotesque and monstrous. For this very reason there is 
no concealment ; it is free, naive, open as the day, and 
this is the cause of our interest in animals. The charac- 
teristics of species appeared already in the representation 

284 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. iil 

of plants, but showed itself only in the forms ; here it 
becomes much more distinct, and expresses itself not only 
in the form, but in the action, position, and mien, yet 
always merely as the character of the species, not of 
the individual. This knowledge of the Ideas of higher 
grades, which in painting we receive through extraneous 
means, we may gain directly by the pure contemplative 
perception of plants, and observation of beasts, and indeed 
of the latter in their free, natural, and unrestrained state. 
The objective contemplation of their manifold and mar- 
vellous forms, and of their actions and behaviour, is an 
instructive lesson from the great book of nature, it is a 
deciphering of the true signatura rerum. 1 We see in 
them the manifold grades and modes of the manifestation 
of will, which in all beings of one and the same grade, 
wills always in the same way, which objectifies itself as 
life, as existence in such endless variety, and such diffe- 
rent forms, which are all adaptations to the different 
external circumstances, and may be compared to many 
variations on the same theme. But if we had to com- 
municate to the observer, for reflection; and in a word, 
the explanation of their inner nature, it would be best to 
make use of that Sanscrit formula which occurs so often 
in the sacred books of the Hindoos, and is called Maha- 
vakya, ie. y the great word : " Tat twam asi" which means, 
" this living thing art thou." 

§ 45. The great problem of historical painting and 
sculpture is to express directly and for perception the 
Idea in which the will reaches the highest grade of its 
objectification. The objective side of the pleasure 
afforded by the beautiful is here always predominant, 

1 Jakob Bbhm in his book, " de this is the language of nature when 

Signatura Rerum," ch. i. f § 13-15, everything speaks out of its own 

eays, " There is nothing in nature property, and continually manifests 

that does not manifest its internal and declares itself, ... for each 

form externally ; for the internal thing reveals its mother, which thus 

continually labours to manifest it- gives the essence and the will to the 

■elf. . . . Everything has its language form, 
by which to reveal itself. . . . And 


and the subjective side has retired into the background. 
It is further to be observed that at the next grade below 
this, animal painting, the characteristic is entirely one 
with the beautiful; the most characteristic lion, wolf, 
horse, sheep, or ox, was always the most beautiful also. 
The reason of this is that animals have only the character 
of their species, no individual character. In the repre- 
sentation of men the character of the species is separated 
from that of the individual ; the former is now called 
beauty (entirely in the objective sense), but the latter 
retains the name, character, or expression, and the new 
difficulty arises of representing both, at once and com- 
pletely, in the same individual. 

Human beauty is an objective expression, which means 
i^the fullest objectifi cation of will at the highest grade at 
which it is knowable, the Idea of man in general, com- 
pletely expressed in the sensible form. But however 
much the objective side of the beautiful appears here, 
the subjective side still always accompanies it. And just 
because no object transports us so quickly into pure 
{esthetic contemplation, as the most beautiful human 
countenance and form, at the sight of which we are 
instantly filled with unspeakable satisfaction, and raised 
above ourselves and all that troubles us ; this is only 
possible because this most distinct and purest knowledge 
of will raises us most easily and quickly to the state of 
pure knowing, in which our personality, our will with its 
constant pain, disappears, so long as the pure aesthetic 
pleasure lasts. Therefore it is that Goethe says : " No 
evil can touch him who looks on human beauty ; he feels 
himself at one with himself and with the world." That 
a beautiful human form is produced by nature must be 
explained in this way. At this its highest grade the will 
objectifies itself in an individual ; and therefore through 
circumstances and its own power it completely overcomes 
all the hindrances and opposition which the phenomena 
of the lower grades present to it. Such are the forces 

286 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

of nature, from which the will must always first extort 
and win back the matter that belongs to all its mani- 
festations. Further, the phenomenon of will at its 
higher grades always has multiplicity in its form. Even 
the tree is only a systematic aggregate of innumerably 
repeated sprouting fibres. This combination assumes 
greater complexity in higher forms, and the human body 
is an exceedingly complex system of different parts, each 
of which has a peculiar life of its own, vita propria, sub- 
ordinate to the whole. Now that all these parts are in 
the proper fashion subordinate to the whole, and co- 
ordinate to each other, that they all work together 
harmoniously for the expression of the whole, nothing 
superfluous, nothing restricted; all these are the rare 
conditions, whose result is beauty, the completely ex- 
pressed character of the species. So is it in nature. 
But how in art ? One would suppose that art achieved 
the beautiful by imitating nature. But how is the artist 
to recognise the perfect work which is to be imitated, 
and distinguish it from the failures, if he does not antici- 
pate the beautiful before experience* And besides this, 
has nature ever produced a human being perfectly 
beautiful in all his parts? It has accordingly been 
thought that the artist must seek out the beautiful parts, 
distributed among a number of different human beings, 
and out of them construct a beautiful whole ; a perverse 
and foolish opinion. For it will be asked, how is he to 
know that just these forms and not others are beautiful ? 
We also see what kind of success attended the efforts 
of the old German painters to achieve the beautiful by 
imitating nature. Observe their naked figures. No 
knowledge of the beautiful is possible purely a pos- 
teriori, and from mere experience ; it is always, at least 
in part, a priori, although quite different in kind, from 
the forms of the principle of sufficient reason, of which 
we are conscious a priori. These concern the universal 
form of phenomena as such, as it constitutes the possi- 


bility of knowledge in general, the universal how of all 
phenomena, and from this knowledge proceed mathe- 
matics and pure natural science. But this other kind of 
knowledge a priori, which makes it possible to express 
the beautiful, concerns, not the form but the content of 
phenomena, not the how but the what of the phenomenon. 
That we all recognise human beauty when we see it, but 
that in the true artist this takes place with such clear- 
ness that he shows it as he has never seen it, and sur- 

/ passes nature in his representation ; this is only possible 
because we ourselves are the will whose adequate objecti- 
fication at its highest grade is here to be judged and 
discovered. Thus alone have we in fact an anticipation 
of that which nature (which is just the will that consti- 
tutes our own being) strives to express. And in the true 
genius this anticipation is accompanied by so great a 
degree of intelligence that he recognises the Idea in the 
particular thing, and thus, as it were, understands the 

\ half-uttered speech of nature, and articulates clearly what 
she only stammered forth. He expresses in the hard 
marble that beauty of form which in a thousand attempts 
j she failed to produce, he presents it to nature, saying, as 
it were, to her, " That is what you wanted to say !" And 
whoever is able to judge replies, " Yes, that is it." Only 
in this way was it possible for the genius of the Greeks 
to find the type of human beauty and establish it as a 
canon for the school of sculpture ; and only by virtue of 
such an anticipation is it possible for all of us to recog- 
nise beauty, when it has actually been achieved by nature 
in the particular case. This anticipation is the Ideal. 
It is the Idea so far as it is known a priori, at least half, 
and it becomes practical for art, because it corresponds 
to and completes what is given a posteriori through 
nature. The possibility of such an anticipation of the 
beautiful a priori in the artist, and of its recognition a 
posteriori by the critic, lies in the fact that the artist and 
the critic are themselves the "in-itself " of nature, the 

288 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

will which objectifies itself. For, as Empedocles said, 
like can only be known by like : only nature can under- 
stand itself: only nature can fathom itself: but only 
spirit also can understand spirit. 1 

The opinion, which is absurd, although expressed by 
the Socrates of Xenophon (Stobsei Floril, vol. ii. p. 384) 
that the Greeks discovered the established ideal of human 
beauty empirically, by collecting particular beautiful parts, 
uncovering and noting here a knee, there an arm, has an 
exact parallel in the art of poetry. The view is enter- 
tained, that Shakespeare, for example, observed, and then 
gave forth from his own experience of life, the innumer- 
able variety of the characters in his dramas, so true, 
so sustained, so profoundly worked out. The impos- 
sibility and absurdity of such an assumption need not 
be dwelt upon. It is obvious that the man of genius 
produces the works of poetic art by means of an 
anticipation of what is characteristic, just as he pro- 
duces the works of plastic and pictorial art by means 
of a prophetic anticipation of the beautiful; yet both 
require experience as a pattern or model, for thus alone 
can that which is dimly known a priori be called into 
clear consciousness, and an intelligent representation of 
it becomes possible. 

Human beauty was explained above as the fullest 
objectification of will at the highest grade at which it 
is knowable. It expresses itself through the form ; and 
this lies in space alone, and has no necessary connection 
with time, as, for example, motion has. Thus far then 
we may say : the adequate objectification of will through 
a merely spatial phenomenon is beauty, in the objective 
sense. A plant is nothing but such a merely spatial 

1 The last sentence is the German fluence of the Hegelian sophistry, 

of the il riy a que VesprU qui sente that some might quite likely say that 

Vcitprit, of Helvetius. In the first an antithesis was intended here be- 

edition there was no occasion to tween "spirit and nature." I am 

point this out, but since then the therefore obliged to guard myself in 

age has become so degraded and express terms against the suspicion 

ignorant through the stupefying in- of such vulgar sophisms. 


phenomenon of will; for no motion, and consequently 
no relation to time (regarded apart from its development), 
belongs to the expression of its nature ; its mere form 
expresses its whole being and displays it openly. But 
brutes and men require, further, for the full revelation of 
the will which is manifested in them, a series of actions, 
and thus the manifestation in them takes on a direct 
relation to time. All this has already been explained in 
the preceding book ; it is related to what we are con- 
sidering at present in the following way. As the merely 
spatial manifestation of will can objectify it fully or 
defectively at each definite grade, — and it is this which 
constitutes beauty or ugliness, — so the temporal objecti- 
fication of will, i.e. t the action, and indeed the direct 
action, the movement, may correspond to the will, which 
objectifies itself in it, purely and fully without foreign 
admixture, without superfluity, without defect, only ex- 
pressing exactly the act of will determined in each case ; 
— or the converse of all this may occur. In the first 
case the movement is made with grace, in the second 
case without it. Thus as beauty is the adequate repre- 
sentation of will generally, through its merely spatial 
manifestation ; grace is the adequate representation of will 
through its temporal manifestation, that is to say, the 
perfectly accurate and fitting expression of each act of 
will, through the movement and position which objectify 
it. Since movement and position presuppose the body, 
Winckelmann's expression is very true and suitable, 
when he says, " Grace is the proper relation of the acting 
person to the action" (Works, vol. i. p. 258). It is 
thus evident that beauty may be attributed to a plant, 
but no grace, unless in a figurative sense ; but to brutes 
and men, both beauty and grace. Grace consists, accord- 
ing to what has been said, in every movement being 
performed, and every position assumed, in the easiest, 
most appropriate and convenient way, and therefore 
being the pure, adequate expression of its intention, or of 
vol. I. T 


the act of will, without any superfluity, which exhibits 
itself as aimless, meaningless bustle, or as wooden stiff- 
ness. Grace presupposes as its condition a true pro- 
portion of all the limbs, and a symmetrical, harmonious 
figure ; for complete ease and evident appropriateness of 
all positions and movements are only possible by means 
of these. Grace is therefore never without a certain 
degree of beauty of person. The two, complete and united, 
are the most distinct manifestation of will at the highest 
grade of its objectification. 

It was mentioned above that in order lightly to por- 
tray man, it is necessary to separate the character of the 
species from that of the individual, so that to a certain 
extent every man expresses an Idea peculiar to himself, 
as was said in the last book. Therefore the arts whose 
aim is the representation of the Idea of man, have as 
their problem, not only beauty, the character of the 
species, but also the character of the individual, which is 
called, par excellence, character. But this is only the case 
in so far as this character is to be regarded, not as some- 
thing accidental and quite peculiar to the man as a 
single individual, but as a side of the Idea of humanity 
which is specially apparent in this individual, and the 
representation of which is therefore of assistance in 
revealing this Idea. Thus the character, although as 
such it is individual, must yet be Ideal, that is, its signi- 
ficance in relation to the Idea of humanity generally (the 
objectifying of which it assists in its own way) must be 
comprehended and expressed with special prominence. 
Apart from this the representation is a portrait, a copy of 
the individual as such, with all his accidental qualities. 
And even the portrait ought to be, as Winckelmann says, 
the ideal of the individual. 

That cfiaracter which is to be ideally comprehended, 
as the prominence of a special side of the Idea of hu- 
manity, expresses itself visibly, partly through permanent 
physiognomy and bodily form, partly through passing 


emotion and passion, the reciprocal modification of know- 
ing and willing by each other, which is all exhibited in 
the mien and movements. Since the individual always 
belongs to humanity, and, on the other hand, humanity 
always reveals itself in the individual with what is 
indeed peculiar ideal significance, beauty must not be 
destroyed by character nor character by beauty. For if 
the character of the species is annulled by that of the 
individual, the result is caricature ; and if the character of 
the individual is annulled by that of the species, the 
result is an absence of meaning. Therefore the repre- 
sentation which aims at beauty, as sculpture principally 
does, will yet always modify this (the character of the 
species), in some respect, by the individual character, and 
will always express the Idea of man in a definite indi- 
vidual manner, giving prominence to a special side of it. 
For the human individual as such has to a certain extent 
the dignity of a special Idea, and it is essential to the 
Idea of man that it should express itself in individuals 
of special significance. Therefore we find in the works 
of the ancients, that the beauty distinctly comprehended 
by them, is not expressed in one form, but in many 
forms of different character. It is always apprehended, 
as it were, from a different side, and expressed in one 
way in Apollo, in another way in Bacchus, in another in 
Hercules, in another in Antinous ; indeed the character- 
istic may limit the beautiful, and finally extend even to 
hideousness, in the drunken Silenus, in the Faun, &c. 
If the characteristic goes so far as actually to annul the 
character of the species, if it extends to the unnatural, it 
becomes caricuture. But we can far less afford to allow 
grace to be interfered with by what is characteristic than 
even beauty, for graceful position and movement are 
demanded for the expression of the character also ; but 
yet it must be achieved in the way which is most fitting, 
appropriate, and easy for the person. This will be 
observed, not only by the sculptor and the painter, but 

292 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

also by every good actor ; otherwise caricature will appear 
here also as grimace or distortion. 

In sculpture, beauty and grace are the principal concern. 
The special character of the mind, appearing in emotion, 
passion, alternations of knowing and willing, which can 
only be represented by the expression of the countenance 
and the gestures, is the peculiar sphere of painting. For 
although eyes and colour, which lie outside the province 
of sculpture, contribute much to beauty, they are yet far 
more essential to character. Further, beauty unfolds it- 
self more completely when it is contemplated from various 
points of view ; but the expression, the character, can only 
be completely comprehended from one point of view. 

Because beauty is obviously the chief aim of sculpture, 
Lessing tried to explain the fact that the Laocoon does not 
cry out, by saying that crying out is incompatible with 
beauty. The Laocoon formed for Lessing the theme, or 
at least the text of a work of his own, and both before 
and after him a great deal has been written on the sub- 
ject I may therefore be allowed to express my views 
about it in passing, although so special a discussion does 
not properly belong to the scheme of this work, which is 
throughout concerned with what is general. 

§ 46. That Laocoon, in the celebrated £roup, does not 
cry out is obvious, and the universal and ever-renewed 
surprise at this must be occasioned by the fact that any 
of us would cry out if we were in his place. And nature 
demands that it should be so ; for in the case of the 
acutest physical pain, and the sudden seizure by the 
greatest bodily fear, all reflection, that might have 
inculcated silent endurance, is entirely expelled from 
consciousness, and nature relieves itself by crying out, 
thus expressing both the pain and the fear, summoning 
the deliverer and terrifying the assailer. Thus Winckel- 
mann missed the expression of crying out; but as he 
wished to justify the artist he turned Laocoon into a 
Stoic, who considered it beneath his dignity to cry out 


secundum naturam, but added to his pain the useless 
constraint of suppressing all utterance of it. Winckel- 
mann therefore sees in him " the tried spirit of a great 
man, who writhes in agony, and yet seeks to suppress 
the utterance of his feeling, and to lock it up in himself. 
He does not break forth into loud cries, as in Virgil, but 
only anxious sighs escape him," &c. (Works, vol. vii. 
p. 98, and at greater length in vol. vi. p. 104). Now 
Lessing criticised this opinion of Winckelmann's in his 
Laocoon, and improved it in the way mentioned above. 
In place of the psychological he gave the purely aesthetic 
reason that beauty, the principle of ancient art, does not 
admit of the expression of crying out. Another argu- 
ment which he added to this, that a merely passing state 
incapable of duration ought not to be represented in 
motionless works of art, has a hundred examples of most 
excellent figures against it, which are fixed in merely 
transitory movements, dancing, wrestling, catching, &c. 
Indeed Goethe, in the essay on the Laocoon, which 
opens the Propylaen (p. 8), holds that the choice of 
such a merely fleeting movement is absolutely necessary. 
In our own day Hirt (Horen, 1797, tenth St.) finally 
decided the point, deducing eveiything from the highest 
truth of expression, that Laocoon does not cry out, 
because he can no longer do so, as he is at the point 
of death from choking. Lastly, Fernow ("Komische 
Studien," vol i. p. 246) expounded and weighed all 
these opinions; he added, however, no new one of his 
own, but combined these three eclectically. 

I cannot but wonder that such thoughtful and acute 
men should laboriously bring far-fetched and insufficient 
reasons, should resort to psychological and physiological 
arguments, to explain a matter the reason of which lies 
so near at hand, and is obvious at once to the unpre- 
judiced ; and especially I wonder that Lessing, who came 
so near the true explanation, should yet have entirely 
\ missed the real point. 

294 THE WORLD AS IDEA. BK. ill. 

Before all psychological and physiological inquiries as 
to whether Laocoon would cry out in his position or not 
(and I certainly affirm that he would), it must be decided 
as regards the group in question, that crying out ought 
not to be expressed in it, for the simple reason that its 
expression lies quite outside the province of sculpture. 
A shrieking Laocoon could not be produced in marble, 
but only a figure with the mouth open vainly endeavour- 
ing to shriek ; a Laocoon whose voice has stuck in his 
* throat, vox faucibus haesit. The essence of shrieking, 
\ and consequently its effect upon the onlooker, lies entirely 
Mn sound; not in the distortion of the mouth. This 
phenomenon, which necessarily accompanies shrieking, 
derives motive and justification only from the sound 
produced by means of it; then it is permissible and 
indeed necessary, as characteristic of the action, even 
though it interferes with beauty. But in plastic art, to 
which the representation of shrieking is quite foreign and 
impossible, it would be actual folly to represent the 
medium of violent shrieking, the distorted mouth, which 
would disturb all the features and the remainder of the 
expression ; for thus at the sacrifice of many other things 
the means would be represented, while its end, the 
shrieking itself, and its effect upon our feelings, would 
be left out. Nay more, there would be produced the 
spectacle of a continuous effort without effect, which is 
always ridiculous, and may really be compared to what 
happened when some one for a joke stopped the horn of 
a night watchman with wax while he was asleep, and 
then awoke him with the cry of fire, and amused him- 
self by watching his vain endeavours to blow the horn. 
When, on the other hand, the expression of shrieking lies 
in the province of poetic or histrionic art, it is quite 
admissible, because it helps to express the truth, i.e., the 
complete expression of the Idea. Thus it is with poetry, 
which claims the assistance of the imagination of the 
reader, in order to enable it to represent things percep- 


tibly. Therefore Virgil makes Laocoon cry out like the 
bellowing of an ox that has broken loose after being 
struck by the axe; and Homer (II. xx. 48—53) makes 
Mars and Minerva shriek horribly, without derogating 
from their divine dignity or beauty. The same with 
acting; Laocoon on the stage would certainly have to 
shriek. Sophocles makes Philoctetus cry out, and, on 
the ancient stage at any rate, he must actually have 
done so. As a case in point, I remember having seen in 
London the great actor Kemble play in a piece called 
Pizarro, translated from the German. He took the part 
of the American, a half-savage, but of very noble char- 
acter. When he was wounded he cried out loudly and 
wildly, which had a great and admirable effect, for it was 
exceedingly characteristic and therefore assisted the truth 
of the representation very much. On the other hand, a 
painted or sculptured model of a man shrieking, would 
be much more absurd than the painted music which is 
censured in Goethe's Propylaen. For shrieking does far 
more injury to the expression and beauty of the whole 
than music, which at the most only occupies the hands 
and arms, and is to be looked upon as an occupation 
characteristic of the person ; indeed thus far it may quite 
rightly be painted, as long as it demands no violent 
movement of the body, or distortion of the mouth : for 
example, St. Cecilia at the organ, Raphael's violin-player 
in the Sciarra Gallery at Rome, and others. Since then, 
on account of the limits of the art, the pain of Laocoon 
must not be expressed by shrieking, the artist was 
obliged to employ every other expression of pain ; this 
he has done in the most perfect manner, as is ably de- 
scribed by Winckelmann (Works, vol. vi. p. 104), whose 
admirable account thus retains its full value and truth, as 
soon as we abstract from the stoical view which under- 
lies it. 1 

1 This digression is worked out more fully in the 36th Chapter of the. 

296 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. iil 

§ 47. Because beauty accompanied with grace is the 
principal object of sculpture, it loves nakedness, and 
allows clothing only so far as it does not conceal the 
form. It makes use of drapery, not as a covering, but as 
a means of exhibiting the form, a method of exposition 
that gives much exercise to the understanding, for it 
can only arrive at a perception of the cause, the form 
of the body, through the only directly given effect, 
the drapery. Thus to a certain extent drapery is in 
sculpture what fore-shortening is in painting. Both are 
suggestions, yet not symbolical, but such that, if they 
are successful, they force the understanding directly to 
perceive what is suggested, just as if it were actually 

I may be allowed, in passing, to insert here a com- 
parison that is very pertinent to the arts we are discuss- 
ing. It is this : as the beautiful bodily form is seen to 
the greatest advantage when clothed in the lightest way, 
or indeed without any clothing at all, and therefore a 
very handsome man, if he had also taste and the courage 
to follow it, would go about almost naked, clothed only 
after the manner of the ancients ; so every one who pos- 
sesses a beautiful and rich mind will always express 
himself in the most natural, direct, and simple way, con- 
cerned, if it be possible, to communicate his thoughts to 
others, and thus relieve the loneliness that he must feel 
in such a world as this. And conversely, poverty of 
mind, confusion, and perversity of thought, will clothe 
itself in the most far-fetched expressions and the 
obscurest forms of speech, in order to wrap up in difficult 
and pompous phraseology small, trifling, insipid, or 
commonplace thoughts; like a man who has lost the 
majesty of beauty, and trying to make up for the 
deficiency by means of clothing, seeks to hide the 
insignificance or ugliness of his person under barbaric 
finery, tinsel, feathers, ruffles, cuffs, and mantles. Many 
an author, if compelled to translate his pompous and 


obscure book into its little clear content, would be as 
utterly spoilt as this man if he had to go naked. 

§ 48. Historical painting has for its principal object, 
besides beauty and grace, character. By character we 
mean generally, the representation of will at the highest 
grade of its objectification, when the individual, as giving 
prominence to a particular side of the Idea of humanity, 
has special significance, and shows this not merely by his 
form, but makes it visible in his bearing and occupation, 
by action of every kind, and the modifications of knowing 
and willing that occasion and accompany it. The Idea 
of man must be exhibited in these circumstances, and 
therefore the unfolding of its many-sidedness must be 
brought before our eyes by means of representative 
individuals, and these individuals can only be made 
visible in their significance through various scenes, events, 
and actions. This is the endless problem of the histori- 
cal painter, and he solves it by placing before us scenes 
of life of every kind, of greater or less significance. No 
individual and no action can be without significance ; in 
all and through all the Idea of man unfolds itself more 
and more. Therefore no event of human life is excluded 
from the sphere of painting. It is thus a great injustice 
to the excellent painters of the Dutch school, to prize 
merely their technical skill, and to look down upon them 
in other respects, because, for the most part, they repre- 
sent objects of common life, whereas it is assumed that 
only the events of the history of the world, or the inci- 
dents of biblical story, have significance. We ought first 
to bethink ourselves that the inward significance of an 
action is quite different from its outward significance, and 
that these are often separated from each other. The 
outward significance is the importance of an action in 
relation to its result for and in the actual world ; thus 
according to the principle of sufficient reason. The 
inward significance is the depth of the insight into 
the Idea of man which it reveals, in that it brings 

298 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. ill. 

to light sides of that Idea which rarely appear, by 
making individuals who assert themselves distinctly 
and decidedly, disclose their peculiar characteristics by 
means of appropriately arranged circumstances. Only 
the inward significance concerns art; the outward be- 
longs to history. They are both completely independent 
of each other ; they may appear together, but may each 
appear alone. An action which is of the highest signi- 
ficance for history may in inward significance be a very 
ordinary and common one ; and conversely, a scene of 
ordinary daily life may be of great inward significance, if 
human individuals, and the inmost recesses of human 
action and will, appear in it in a clear and distinct light. 
Further, the outward and the inward significance of a 
scene may be equal and yet very different. Thus, for 
example, it is all the same, as far as inward significance 
is concerned, whether ministers discuss the fate of coun- 
tries and nations over a map, or boors wrangle in a beer- 
house over cards and dice, just as it is all the same 
whether we play chess with golden or wooden pieces. 
But apart from this, the scenes and events that make up 
the life of so many millions of men, their actions, their 
sorrows, their joys, are on that account important enough 
to be the object of art, and by their rich variety they 
must afford material enough for unfolding the many-sided 
Idea of man. Indeed the very transitoriness of the moment 
which art has fixed in such a picture (now called genre- 
painting) excites a slight and peculiar sensation; for 
to fix the fleeting, ever-changing world in the enduring 
picture of a single event, which yet represents the whole, 
is an achievement of the art of painting by which it 
seems to bring time itself to a standstill, for it raises the 
individual to the Idea of its species. Finally, the histo- 
rical and outwardly significant subjects of painting have 
often the disadvantage that just what is significant in 
them cannot be presented to perception, but must be 
arrived at by thought. In this respect the nominal 


significance of the picture must be distinguished from its 
real significance. The former is the outward significance, 
which, however, can only be reached as a conception ; the 
latter is that side of the Idea of man which is made 
visible to the onlooker in the picture. For example, 
Moses found by the Egyptian princess is the nominal 
significance of a painting ; it represents a moment of the 
greatest importance in history ; the real significance, on 
the other hand, that which is really given to the onlooker, 
is a foundling child rescued from its floating cradle by a 
great lady, an incident which may have happened more 
than once. The costume alone can here indicate the 
particular historical case to the learned ; but the costume 
is only of importance to the nominal signifiance, and is a 
matter of indifference to the real significance ; for the 
latter knows only the human being as such, not the 
arbitrary forms. Subjects taken from history have no 
advantage over those which are taken from mere pos- 
sibility, and which are therefore to be called, not indi- 
vidual, but merely general. For what is peculiarly 
significant in the former is not the individual, not the 
particular event as such, but the universal in it, the side 
of the Idea of humanity which expresses itself through 
it. But, on the other hand, definite historical subjects 
are not on this account to be rejected, only the really 
artistic view of such subjects, both in the painter and 
in the beholder, is never directed to the individual par- 
ticulars in them, which properly constitute the historical, 
but to the universal which expresses itself in them, to 
the Idea. And only those historical subjects are to be 
chosen the chief point of which can actually be repre- 
sented, and not merely arrived at by thou^iit, otherwise 
the nominal significance is too remote from the real; 
what is merely thought in connection with the picture 
becomes of most importance, and interferes with what is 
perceived. If even on the stage it is not right that the 
chief incident of the plot should take place behind the 

3oo THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

scenes (as in French tragedies), it is clearly a far greater 
fault in a picture. Historical subjects are distinctly 
disadvantageous only when they confine the painter to 
a field which has not been chosen for artistic but for 
other reasons, and especially when this field is poor in 
picturesque and significant objects — if, for example, it is 
the history of a small, isolated, capricious, hierarchical 
(i.e., ruled by error), obscure people, like the Jews, despised 
by the great contemporary nations of the East and the 
West Since the wandering of the tribes lies between us 
and all ancient nations, as the change of the bed of the 
ocean lies between the earth's surface as it is to-day and 
as it was when those organisations existed which we only 
know from fossil remains, it is to be regarded generally as 
a great misfortune that the people whose culture was to 
be the principal basis of our own were not the Indians or 
the Greeks, or even the Eomans, but these very Jews. 
But it was especially a great misfortune for the Italian 
painters of genius in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries 
that, in the narrow sphere to which they were arbitrarily 
driven for the choice of subjects, they were obliged to have 
recourse to miserable beings of every kind. For the New 
Testament, as regards its historical part, is almost more 
unsuitable for painting than the Old, and the subsequent 
history of martyrs and doctors of the church is a very 
unfortunate subject. Yet of the pictures, whose subject 
is the history or mythology of Judaism and Christianity, 
we must carefully distinguish those in which the peculiar, 
i.e., the ethical spirit of Christianity is revealed for per- 
ception, by the representation of men who are full of 
this spirit. These representations are in fact the highest 
and most admirable achievements of the art of painting ; 
and only the greatest masters of this art succeeded in 
this, particularly Raphael and Correggio, and especially 
in their earlier pictures. Pictures of this kind are not 
properly to be classed as historical : for, as a rule, they 
represent no event, no action ; but are merely groups of 


saints, with the Saviour himself, often still a child, with His 
mother, angels, &c. In their countenances, and especially 
in the eyes, we see the expression, the reflection, of the 
completest knowledge, that which is not directed to par- 
ticular things, but has fully grasped the Ideas, and thus 
the whole nature of the world and life. And this know- 
ledge in them, reacting upon the will, does not, like other 
knowledge, convey motives to it, but on the contrary has 
become a quieter of all will, from which proceeded the 
complete resignation, which is the innermost spirit of 
Christianity, as of the Indian philosophy ; the surrender 
of all volition, conversion, the suppression of will, and 
with it of the whole inner being of this world, that is to 
say, salvation. Thus these masters of art, worthy of 
eternal praise, expressed perceptibly in their works the 
highest wisdom. And this is the summit of all art. It 
has followed the will in its adequate objectivity, the 
Ideas, through all its grades, in which it is affected and 
its nature unfolded in so many ways, first by causes, 
then by stimuli, and finally by motives. And now art 
ends with the representation of the free self-suppression 
of will, by means of the great peace which it gains from 
the perfect knowledge of its own nature. 1 

§ 49. The truth which lies at the foundation of all 
that we have hitherto said about art, is that the object of 
art, the representation of which is the aim of the artist, 
and the knowledge of which must therefore precede his 
work as its germ and source, is an Idea in Plato's sense, 
and never anything else ; not the particular thing, the 
object of common apprehension, and not the concept, the 
object of rational thought and of science. Although the 
Idea and the concept have something in common, because 
both represent as unity a multiplicity of real things ; yet 
the great difference between them has no doubt been 
made clear and evident enough by what we have said 

1 In order to understand this passage it is necessary to have read the 
whole of the next book. 



about concepts in the first book, and about Ideas in this 
book. I by no means wish to assert, however, that Plato 
really distinctly comprehended this difference; indeed many 
of his examples of Ideas, and his discussions of them, are 
applicable only to concepts. Meanwhile we leave this 
question alone and go on our own way, glad when we 
come upon traces of any great and noble mind, yet not 
following his footsteps but our own aim. The concept is 
abstract, discursive, undetermined within its own sphere, 
only determined by its limits, attainable and comprehen-\/ 
sible by him who has only reason, communicable by 
words without any other assistance, entirely exhausted 
by its definition. The Idea on the contrary, although 
denned as the adequate representative of the concept, is 
always object of perception, and although representing 
an infinite number of particular things, is yet thoroughly 
determined. It is never known by the individual as 
such, but only by him who has raised himself above all 
willing and all individuality to the pure subject of know- 
ing. Thus it is only attainable by the man of genius, 
and by him who, for the most part through the assistance 
of the works of genius, has reached an exalted frame of 
mind, by increasing his power of pure knowing. It is 
therefore not absolutely but only conditionally communi- 
cable, because the Idea, comprehended and repeated in 
the work of art, appeals to every one only according to 
the measure of his own intellectual worth. So that just 
the most excellent works of every art, the noblest pro- 
ductions of genius, must always remain sealed books to 
the dull majority of men, inaccessible to them, separated 
from them by a wide gulf, just as the society of princes 
is inaccessible to the common people. It is true that 
even the dullest of them accept on authority recognisedly 
great works, lest otherwise they should argue their 
own incompetence; but they wait in silence, always 
ready to express their condemnation, as soon as they are 
allowed to hope that they may do so without being left 


to stand alone; and then their long-restrained hatred 
against all that is great and beautiful, and against the 
authors of it, gladly relieves itself; for such things never 
appealed to them, and for that very reason were humili- 
ating to them. For as a rule a man must have worth in 
himself in order to recognise it and believe in it willingly 
and freely in others. On this rests the necessity of 
modesty in all merit, and the disproportionately loud 
praise of this virtue, which alone of all its sisters is 
always included in the eulogy of every one who ventures 
to praise any distinguished man, in order to appease and 
quiet the wrath of the unworthy. What then is modesty 
but hypocritical humility, by means of which, in a world 
swelling with base envy, a man seeks to obtain pardon 
for excellences and merits from those who have none ? 
For whoever attributes to himself no merits, because he 
actually has none, is not modest but merely honest. 

The Idea is the unity that falls into multiplicity on 
account of the temporal and spatial form of our intuitive 
apprehension ; the concept, on the contrary, is the unity 
reconstructed out of multiplicity by the abstraction of 
our reason ; the latter may be defined as unitas post rem, 
the former as unitas ante rem. Finally, we may express 
the distinction between the Idea and the concept, by a 
comparison, thus : the concept is like a dead receptacle, 
in which, whatever has been put, actually lies side by 
side, but out of which no more can be taken (by analyti- 
cal judgment) than was put in (by synthetical reflec- 
tion) ; the (Platonic) Idea, on the other hand, develops, 
in him who has comprehended it, ideas which are new as 
regards the concept of the same name; it resembles a 
living organism, developing itself and possessed of the 
power of reproduction, which brings forth what was not 
put into it. 

It follows from all that has been said, that the 
concept, useful as it is in life, and serviceable, necessary 
and productive as it is in science, is yet always barren 


and unfruitful in art. The comprehended Idea, on the 
contrary, is the true and only source of every work of 
art In its powerful originality it is only derived from 
life itself, from nature, from the world, and that only 
by the true genius, or by him whose momentary inspira- 
tion reaches the point of genius. Genuine and immortal 
works of art spring only from such direct apprehension. 
Just because the Idea is and remains object of percep- 
tion, the artist is not conscious in the abstract of the 
intention and aim of liis work ; not a concept, but an 
Idea floats before his mind ; therefore he can give no 
justification of what he does. He works, as people say, 
from pure feeling, and unconsciously, indeed instinctively. 
On the contrary, imitators, mannerists, imitatores, sei-vum 
pecus, start, in art, from the concept; they observe what 
pleases and affects us in true works of art ; understand 
it clearly, fix it in a concept, and thus abstractly, and 
then imitate it, openly or disguisedly, with dexterity 
and intentionally. They suck their nourishment, like 
parasite plants, from the works of others, and like polypi, 
they become the colour of their food. We might carry 
comparison further, and say that they are like machines 
which mince fine and mingle together whatever is put 
into them, but can never digest it, so that the different 
constituent parts may always be found again if they are 
sought out and separated from the mixture ; the man of 
genius alone resembles the organised, assimilating, trans- 
forming and reproducing body. For he is indeed edu- 
cated and cultured by his predecessors and their works ; 
but he is really fructified only by life and the world 
directly, through the impression of what he perceives; 
therefore the highest culture never interferes with his 
originality. All imitators, all mannerists, apprehend iu 
concepts the nature of representative works of art ; but 
concepts can never impart inner life to a work. The 
age, i.e., the dull multitude of every time, knows only 
concepts, and sticks to them, and therefore receives 


mannered works of art with ready and loud applause: 
but after a few years these works become insipid, because 
the spirit of the age, i.e, the prevailing concepts, in which 
alone they could take root, have changed. Only true 
works of art, which are drawn directly from nature and 
life, have eternal youth and enduring power, like nature 
and life themselves. For they belong to no age, but to 
humanity, and as on that account they are coldly received 
by their own age, to which they disdain to link them- 
selves closely, and because indirectly and negatively they 
expose the existing errors, they are slowly and unwillingly 
recognised ; on the other hand, they cannot grow old, but 
appear to us ever fresh and new down to the latest ages. 
Then they are no longer exposed to neglect and ignorance, 
for they are crowned and sanctioned by the praise of the 
few men capable of judging, who appear singly and rarely 
in the course of ages, 1 and give in their votes, whose 
slowly growing number constitutes the authority, which 
alone is the judgment-seat we mean when we appeal to 
posterity. It is these successively appearing individuals, 
for the mass of posterity will always be and remain just 
as perverse and dull as the mass o£ contemporaries always 
was and always is. We read the complaints of great men 
in every century about the customs of their age. They 
always sound as if they referred to our own age, for the 
race is always the same. At every time and in every 
art, mannerisms have taken the place of the spirit, which 
was always the possession of a few individuals, but 
mannerisms are just the old cast-off garments of the last 
manifestation of the spirit that existed and was recognised. 
From all this it appears that, as a rule, the praise of 
posterity can only be gained at the cost of the praise of 
one's contemporaries, and vice versa. 2 

§ 50. If the aim of all art is the communication of the 
comprehended Idea, which through the mind of the artist 

1 Apparent rari, nantes in gurgite vasto 

2 Cf. Ch. xxxiv. of Supplement. 


3 o6 THE WORLD AS IDEA. RK. lit 

appears in such a form that it is purged and isolated from 
all that is foreign to it, and may now be grasped by the 
man of weaker comprehension and no productive faculty ; 
if further, it is forbidden in art to start from the concept, 
we shall not be able to consent to the intentional and 
avowed employment of a work of art for the expression 
of a concept ; this is the case in the Allegory. An alle- 
gory is a work of art which means something different 
from what it represents. But the object of perception, 
and consequently also the Idea, expresses itself directly 
and completely, and does not require the medium of 
something else which implies or indicates it. Thus, 
that which in this way is indicated and represented by 
something entirely different, because it cannot itself be 

* made object of perception, is always a concept There- 
fore through the allegory a conception has always to be 
signified, and consequently the mind of the beholder has 
to be drawn away from the expressed perceptible idea to 
one which is entirely different, abstract and not per- 
ceptible, and which lies quite outside the work of art 
The picture or statue is intended to accomplish here 
what is accomplished far more fully by a book. Now, 
what we hold is the end of art, representation of a 
perceivable, comprehensible Idea, is not here the end. 
No gTeat completeness in the work of art is demanded 
for what is aimed at here. It is only necessary that we 
should see what the thing is meant to be, for, as soon as 
this has been discovered, the end is reached, and the mind 
is now led away to quite a different kind of idea to 
an abstract conception, which is the end that was in 
view. Allegories in plastic and pictorial art are, therefore, 

y/ nothing but hieroglyphics ; the artistic value which they 
may have as perceptible representations, belongs to them 
not as allegories, but otherwise. That the " Night " oi A 
CorregL-io, the "Genius of Fame" of Hannibal Carracci, 
and the " Hours " of Poussin, are very beautiful pictures! 
is to be separated altogether from thi- fact that they are; 


I allegories. As allegories they do not accomplish more 
j than a legend, indeed rather less. We are here again 
reminded of the distinction drawn above between the 
real and the nominal significance of a picture. The 
nominal is here the allegorical as such, for example, the 
" Genius of Fame." The real is what is actually repre- 
sented, in this case a beautiful winged youth, surrounded 
by beautiful boys ; this expresses an Idea. But this real 
significance affects us only so long as we forget the nomi- 
nal, allegorical significance ; if we think of the latter, we 
forsake the perception, and the mind is occupied with nn 
abstract conception ; but the transition from the Idea to 
the conception is always a fall. Indeed, that nominal 
significance, that allegorical intention, often injures the 
real significance, the perceptible truth. For example, 
the unnatural light in the « Night " of Correggio, which, 
though beautifully executed, has yet a merely allegorical 
motive, and is really impossible. If then an allegorical 
picture has artistic value, it is quite separate from and 
independent of what it accomplishes as allegory. Such 
a work of art serves two ends at once, the expression of 
a conception and the expression of an Idea. Only the 
latter can be an end of art ; the other is a foreign end, 
the trilling amusement of making a picture also do 
service as a legend, as a hieroglyphic, invented for the 
pleasure of those to whom the true nature of art can 
never appeal. It is the same thing as when a work of 
art is also a useful implement of some kind, in which 
case it also serves two ends ; for example, a statue which 
is at the same time a candelabrum or a caryatide ; or a 
bas-relief, which is also the shield of Achilles. True 
lovers of art will allow neither the one nor the other. 
It is true that an allegorical picture may, because of this 
quality, produce a vivid impression upon the feelings ; 
but when this is the case, a legend would under the 
same circumstances produce the same effect. For ex- 
ample, if the desire of fame were tirmly and lastingly 

3 o8 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

rooted in the heart of a man, because he regarded it as 
his rightful possession, which is only withheld from 
him so long as he has not produced the charter of his 
ownership ; and if the Genius of Fame, with his laurel 
crown, were to appear to such a man, his whole mind 
would be excited, and his powers called into activity ; 
but the same effect would be produced if he were sud- 
denly to see the word " fame," in large distinct letters on 
the wall. Or if a man has made known a truth, which 
is of importance either as a maxim for practical life, or 
as insight for science, but it has not been believed ; an 
allegorical picture representing time as it lifts the veil, 
and discloses the naked figure of Truth, will affect him 
powerfully ; but the same effect would be produced by 
the legend: " Le temps ddcouvre la veritt." For what 

really pr° duces the effect here " the abstract tnou S nt » 
not the object of perception. 

If then, in accordance with what has been said, allegory 
in plastic and pictorial art is a mistaken effort, serving 
an end which is entirely foreign to art, it becomes quite 
unbearable when it leads so far astray that the repre- 
sentation of forced and violently introduced subtilties 
degenerates into absurdity. Such, for example, is a 
tortoise, to represent feminine seclusion ; the downward 
glance of Nemesis into the drapery of her bosom, signify- 
ing that she can see into what is hidden ; the explana- 
tion of Bellori that Hannibal Caracci represents voluptu- 
ousness clothed in a yellow robe, because he wishes 
to indicate that her lovers soon fade and become yellow 
as straw. If there is absolutely no connection between 
y4e representation and the conception signified by it, 
founded on subsumption under the concept, or associa- 
tion of Ideas ; but the signs and the things signified are 
combined in a purely conventional manner, by positive, 
accidentally introduced laws ; then I call this degenerate 
I kind of allegory Symbolism. Thus the rose is the symbol v 
of secrecy, the laurel is the symbol of fame, the palm ia 


the symbol of peace, the scallop-shell is the symbol 
of pilgrimage, the cross is the symbol of the Christian 
religion. To this class also belongs all significance of 
mere colour, as yellow is the colour of falseness, and blue 
"is the colour of fidelity. Such symbols may often be of 
use in life, but their value is foreign to art. They are 
simply to be regarded as hieroglyphics, or like Chinese 
word-writing, and really belong to the same class as 
armorial bearings, the bush that indicates a public-house, 
the key of the chamberlain, or the leather of the moun- 
taineer. If, finally, certain historical or mythical persons, 
or personified conceptions, are represented by certain 
fixed symbols, these are properly called emblems. Such 
are the beasts of the Evangelist, the owl of Minerva, the 
apple of Paris, the Anchor of Hope, &c. For the most 
part, however, we understand by emblems those simple 
allegorical representations explained by a motto, which 
are meant to express a moral truth, and of which large 
collections have been made by J. Camerarius, Alciatus, 
and others. They form the transition to poetical allegory, 
of which we shall have more to say later. Greek 
sculpture devotes itself to the perception, and therefore 
it is cesthetical ; Indian sculpture devotes itself to the 
conception, and therefore it is merely symbolical. 

This conclusion in regard to allegory, which is founded 
on our consideration of the nature of art and quite con- 
sistent with it, is directly opposed to the opinion of 
Wincklemann, who, far from explaining allegory, as we 
do, as something quite foreign to the end of art, and 
often interfering with it, always speaks in favour of it, 
and indeed (Works, vol i p. 55) places the highest aim 
of art in the u representation of universal conceptions, 
and non-sensuous things." We leave it to every one to 
adhere to whichever view he pleases. Only the truth 
became very clear to me from these and similar views 
of Wincklemann connected with his peculiar metaphysic 
of the beautiful, that one may have the greatest suscepti- 

3 io THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. iil 

bility for artistic beauty, and the soundest judgment in 
regard to it, without being able to give an abstract and 
strictly philosophical justification of the nature of the 
beautiful ; just as one may be very noble and virtuous, 
and may have a tender conscience, which decides with 
perfect accuracy in particular cases, without on that 
account being in a position to investigate and explain in 
the abstract the ethical significance of action. 

Allegory has an entirely different relation to poetry 

^from that which it has to plastic and pictorial art, and 
although it is to be rejected in the latter, it is not only 
permissible, but very serviceable to the former. For in 
plastic and pictorial art it leads away from what is per- 
ceptibly given, the proper object of all art, to abstract 
thoughts ; but in poetry the relation is reversed ; for here 
what is directly given in words is the concept, and the 
first aim is to lead from this to the object of perception, 
the representation of which must be undertaken by the 
imagination of the hearer. If in plastic and pictorial art 
we are led from what is immediately given to something 
else, this must always be a conception, because here only 
the abstract cannot be given directly ; but a conception 
must never be the source, and its communication must 
never be the end of a work of art. In poetry, on the 
contrary, the conception is the material, the immediately 
given, and therefore we may very well leave it, in order 
to call up perceptions which are quite different, and iu 
which the end is reached. Many a conception or abstract 
thought may be quite indispensable to the connection of 

L^a poem, which is yet, in itself and directly, quite incapable 
of being perceived ; and then it is often made perceptible 
by means of some example which is subsumed under it 
This takes place in every trope, every metaphor, simile, 
parable, and allegory, all of which differ only in the length 
and completeness of their expression. Therefore, in the 
arts which employ language as their medium, similes and 
allegories are of striking effect. How beautifully Cer- 


vantes says of sleep in order to express the fact that it 
frees us from all spiritual and bodily suffering, " It is a 
mantle that covers all mankind." How beautifully 
Kleist expresses allegorically the thought that philoso- 
phers and men of science enlighten maukind, in the line, 
" Those whose midnight lamp lights the world." How 
strongly and sensuously Homer describes the harmful 
Ate when he says : " She has tender feet, for she walks 
not on the hard earth, but treads on the heads of men " 
(II. xix. 91.) How forcibly we are struck by Menenius 
Agrippa's fable of the belly and the limbs, addressed to 
the people of Eome when they seceded. How beautifully 
Plato's figure of the Cave, at the beginning of the seventh 
book of the "ftepublic" to which we have already referred, 
expresses a very abstract philosophical dogma. The fable 
of Persephone is also to be regarded as a deeply signifi- 
cant allegory of philosophical tendency, for she became 
subject to the nether world by tasting a pomegranate. 
This becomes peculiarly enlightening from Goethe's treat- 
ment of the fable, as an episode in the Triumph der 
Empfindsamkeit, which is beyond all praise. Three de- 
tailed allegorical works are known to me, one, open and 
avowed, is the incomparable " Criticon " of Balthasai 
Gracian. It consists of a great rich web of connected 
and highly ingenious allegories, that serve here as the fair 
clothing of moral truths, to which he thus imparts the 
most perceptible form, and astonishes us by the richness 
of his invention. The two others are concealed allegories, 
" Don Quixote" and " Gulliver's Travels." The first is an 
allegory of the life of every man, who will not, like others, 
be careful, merely for his own welfare, but follows some 
objective, ideal end, which has taken possession of his 
thoughts and will ; and certainly, in this world, he has 
then a strange appearance. In the case of Gulliver we 
have only to take everything physical as spiritual or 
intellectual, in order to see what the " satirical rogue," as 
Hamlet would call him, meant by it. Such, then, in the 

312 THE WORLD AS IDEA. BK. ill, 

poetical allegory, the conception is always the given, 
which it tries to make perceptible by means of a picture ; 
it may sometimes be expressed or assisted by a painted 
picture. Such a picture will not be regarded as a work 
of art, but only as a significant symbol, and it makes no 
claim to pictorial, but only to poetical worth. Such is 
that beautiful allegorical vignette of Lavater's, which must 
be so heartening to every defender of truth : a hand 
holding a light is stung by a wasp, while gnats are burn- 
ing themselves in the flame above ; underneath is the 

" And although it singes the wings of the gnats, 
Destroys their heads and all their little brains, 

Light is still light ; 
And although I am stung by the angriest wasp, 
I will not let it go." 

To this class also belongs the gravestone with the burnt- 
out, smoking candle, and the inscription — 

" When it is out, it becomes clear 
Whether the candle was tallow or wax." 

Finally, of this kind is an old German genealogical tree, 
in which the last representative of a very ancient family 
thus expresses his determination to live his life to the 
end in abstinence and perfect chastity, and therefore to 
let his race die out ; he represents himself at the root 
of the high-branching tree cutting it over himself with 
shears. In general all those symbols referred to above, 
commonly called emblems, which might also be defined 
as short painted fables with obvious morals, belong to 
this class. Allegories of this kind are always to be re- 
garded as belonging to poetry, not to painting, and as 
justified thereby ; moreover, the pictorial execution is here 
always a matter of secondary importance, and no more is 
demanded of it than that it shall represent the thing so 
that we can recognise it But in poetry, as in plastic 
art, the allegory passes into the symbol if there is merely 


an arbitrary connection between what it presented to 
perception and the abstract significance of it. For as all 
symbolism rests, at bottom, on an agreement, the symbol 
has this among other disadvantages, that in time its 
meaning is forgotten, and then it is dumb. Who would 
guess why the fish is a symbol of Christianity if he did 
not know ? Only a Champollion ; for it is entirely a 
phonetic hieroglyphic. Therefore, as a poetical allegory, 
the Eevelation of John stands much in the same position 
as the reliefs with Magnus Beus sol Mithra, which are 
still constantly being explained. 

§51. If now, with the exposition which has been 
given of art in general, we turn from plastic and pictorial 
art to poetry, we shall have no doubt that its aim also 
is the revelation of the Ideas, the grades of the objec- 
tification of will, and the communication of them to the 
hearer with the distinctness and vividness with which the 
poetical sense comprehends them. Ideas are essentially 
perceptible ; if, therefore, in poetry only abstract con- 
ceptions are directly communicated through words, it is 
yet clearly the intention to make the hearer perceive the 
Ideas of life in the representatives of these conceptions, 
and this can only take place through the assistance of 
his own imagination. But in order to set the imagination 
to work for the accomplishment of this end, the abstract 
conceptions, which are the immediate material of poetry 
as of dry prose, must be so arranged that their spheres 
intersect each other in such a way that none of them can 
remain in its abstract universality ; but, instead of it, a 
perceptible representative appears to the imagination ; 
and this is always further modified by the words of the 
poet according to what his intention may be. As the 
chemist obtains solid precipitates by combining perfectly 
clear and transparent fluids ; the poet understands how 
to precipitate, as it were, the concrete, the individual, the 
perceptible idea, out of the abstract and transparent 
universality of the concepts by the manner in which he 


combines them. For the Idea can only be known by 
perception ; and knowledge of the Idea is the end oi" art. 
The skill of a master, in poetry as in chemistry, enables 
us always to obtain the precise precipitate we intended. 
This end is assisted by the numerous epithets in poetry, 
by means of which the universality of every concept is 
narrowed more and more till we reach the perceptible. 
Homer attaches to almost every substantive an adjec- 
tive, whose concept intersects and considerably diminishes 
the sphere of the concept of the substantive, which is 
thus brought so much the nearer to perception : for 
example — 

" Ev 5' area Qxeavcp Xaparpov 0ao$ ^eXioto, 
'EX/cov vvkto. fieXaiPav en faSwpov apovpav." 

(" Occictit vero in Oceanum splendidum lumeii solis, 
Trahens nocteni uigram super almam terram.") 


" Where gentle winds from the blue heavens sigh, 
There stand the myrtles still, the laurel high,"— 

calls up before the imagination by means of a few con- 
cepts the whole delight of a southern clime. 

Ehythm and rhyme are quite peculiar aids to poetry. 
I can give no other explanation of their incredibly power- 
ful effect than that our faculties of perception have 
received from time, to which they are essentially bound, 
some quality on account of which we inwardly follow, 
and, as it were, consent to each regularly recurring 
sound. In this way rhythm and rhyme are partly a 
means of holding our attention, because we willingly 
follow the poem read, and partly they produce in us a 
blind consent to what is read prior to any judgment, and 
tins gives the poem a certain emphatic power of convinc- 
ing independent of all reasons. 

From the general nature of the material, that is, the 
concepts, which poetiy uses to communicate the Ideas, 
the extent of its province is very great. The whole of 


nature, the Ideas of ali grades, can be represented by 
means of it, for it proceeds according to the Idea it has 
to impart, so that its representations are sometimes de- 
scriptive, sometimes narrative, and sometimes directly 
dramatic. If, in the representation of the lower grades 
of the objectivity of will, plastic and pictorial art gene- 
rally surpass it, because lifeless nature, and even brute 
nature, reveals almost its whole being in a single well- 
chosen moment ; man, on the contrary, so far as he does 
not express himself by the mere form and expression of 
his person, but through a series of actions and the accom- 
panying thoughts and emotions, is the principal object of 
poetry, in which no other art can compete with it, for 
here the progress or movement which cannot be repre- 
sented in plastic or pictorial art just suits its purpose. 

The revelation of the Idea, which is the highest grade 
of the objectivity of will, the representation of man in 
the connected series of his efforts and actions, is thus the 
great problem of poetry. It is true that both experience 
and history teach us to know man ; yet oftener men than 
man, i.e., they give us empirical notes of the behaviour 
of men to each other, from which we may frame rules 
for our own conduct, oftener than they afford us deep 
glimpses of the inner nature of man. The latter func- 
tion, however, is by no means entirely denied them ; but 
as often as it is the nature of mankind itself that dis- 
closes itself to us in history or in our own experience, 
we have comprehended our experience, and the historian 
has comprehended history, with artistic eyes, poetically, 
i.e., according to the Idea, not the phenomenon, in its inner 
nature, not in its relations. Our own experience is the 
indispensable condition of understanding poetry as of 
understanding history; for it is, so to speak, the dictionary 
of the language that both speak. But history is related 
to poetry as portrait -painting is related to historical 
painting ; the one gives us the true in the individual, 
the other the true in the universal ; the one has the 

316 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

truth of the phenomenon, and can therefore verify it 
from the phenomenal, the other has the truth of the 
Idea, which can be found in no particular phenomenon, but 
yet speaks to us from them all. The poet from deliberate 
choice represents significant characters in significant situa- 
tions; the historian takes both as they coma Indeed, 
he must regard and select the circumstances and the 
persons, not with reference to their inward and true 
significance, which expresses the Idea, but according to 
the outward, apparent, and relatively important signifi- 
cance with regard to the connection and the consequences. 
He must consider nothing in and for itself in its essential 
character and expression, but must look at everything in 
its relations, in its connection, in its influence upon what 
follows, and especially upon its own age. Therefore he 
will not overlook an action of a king, though of little 
significance, and in itself quite common, because it has 
results and influence. And, on the other hand, actions 
of the highest significance of particular and very 
eminent individuals are not to be recorded by him if 
they have no consequences. For his treatment follows 
the principle of sufficient reason, and apprehends the 
phenomenon, of which this principle is the form. But 
the poet comprehends the Idea, the inner nature of man 
apart from all relations, outside all time, the adequate 
objectivity of the thing-in-itself, at its highest grade. 
Even in that method of treatment which is necessary 
for the historian, the inner nature and significance of the 
phenomena, the kernel of all these shells, can never be 
entirely lost He who seeks for it, at any rate, may find 
it and recognise it. Yet that which is significant in 
itself, not in its relations, the real unfolding of the Idea, 
will be found far more accurately and distinctly in poetry 
than in history, and, therefore, however paradoxical it 
may sound, far more really genuine inner truth is to be 
attributed to poetry than to history. For the historian 
must accurately follow the particular event according to 


life, as it develops itself in time in the manifold tangled 
chains of causes and effects. It is, however, impossible 
that he can have all the data for this ; he cannot have 
seen all and discovered all. He is forsaken at every 
moment by the original of his picture, or a false one 
substitutes itself for it, and this so constantly that I 
think I may assume that in all history the false out- 
weighs the true. The poet, on the contrary, has com- 
prehended the Idea of man from some definite side which 
is to be represented ; thus it is the nature of his own 
self that objectifies itself in it for him. His knowledge, 
as we explained above when speaking of sculpture, is 
half a priori; his ideal stands before his mind firm, 
distinct, brightly illuminated, and cannot forsake him; 
therefore he shows us, in the mirror of his mind, the 
Idea pure and distinct, and his delineation of it 
down to the minutest particular is true as life itself. 1 
The great ancient historians are, therefore, in those 
particulars in which their data fail them, for example, 
in the speeches of their heroes — poets; indeed their 
whole manner of handling their material approaches 

1 It is scarcely necessary to say ally a greater proneness to what is 
that wherever I speak of poets I perverse and dull as akin to itself, 
refer exclusively to that rare pheno- Therefore these works of the mediocre 
menon the great true poet. I mean poets draw it away and hold it back 
no one else ; least of all that dull from the true masterpieces and the 
insipid tribe, the mediocre poets, education they afford, and thus work- 
rhymsters, and inventors of fables, ing in direct antagonism to the be- 
that flourishes so luxuriantly at the nign influence of genius, they ruin 
present day in Germany. They taste more and more, and retard the 
ought rather to have the words progress of the age. Such poets 
shouted in their ears unceasingly should therefore be scourged with 
from all sides — criticism and satire without indul- 
,, 7 . ., .., . gence or sympathy till they are in- 
Mediocribusessepoetis 3 uced fo / the ir own good, to apply 
Non homines, non Dt, non concessere thdr muse rather to reading what 
columncB. j g g 00( j t j ian to wr jting what is bad. 
It is worthy of serious consideration For if the bungling of the incom- 
what an amount of time — both their petent so raised the wrath of the 
own and other people's — and paper gentle Apollo that he could flay 
is lost by this swarm of mediocre Marsyas, I do not see on what the 
poets, and how injurious is their mediocre poets will base their claim 
influence. For the public always to tolerance, 
seizes on what is new, and has natur- 

318 THE WORLD AS IDEA. rk. hi. 

to the epic. But this gives their representations unity, 
and enables them to retain inner truth, even when 
outward truth was not accessible, or indeed was falsified. 
And as we compared history to portrait-painting, in 
contradistinction to poetry, which corresponds to his- 
torical painting, we find that Winckelmann's maxim, 
that the portrait ought to be the ideal of the individual, 
was followed by the ancient historians, for they re- 
present the individual in such a way as to bring out 
that side of the Idea of man which is expressed in it 
Modern historians, on the contrary, with few exceptions, 
give us in general only " a dust-bin and a lumber-room, 
and at the most a chronicle of the principal political 
events." Therefore, whoever desires to know man in his 
inner nature, identical in all its phenomena and develop- 
ments, to know him according to the Idea, will find that 
the works of the great, immortal poet present a far 
truer, more distinct picture, than the historians can ever 
give. For even the best of the historians are, as poets, 
far from the first; and moreover their hands are tied. 
In this aspect the relation between the historian and the 
poet may be illustrated by the following comparison. 
The mere, pure historian, who works only according to 
data, is like a man, who without any knowledge of 
mathematics, has investigated the relations of certain 
figures, which he has accidentally found, by measuring 
them; and the problem thus empirically solved is 
affected of course by all the errors of the drawn figure. 
The poet, on the other hand, is like the mathematician, 
who constructs these relations a priori in pure perception, 
and expresses them not as they actually are in the 
drawn figure, but as they are in the Idea, which the 
drawing is intended to render for the senses. Therefore 
Schiller says : — 

" What lias never anywhere come to pass, 
That alone never yrows old." 


Indeed I must attribute greater value to biographies, and 
especially to autobiographies, in relation to the know- 
ledge of the nature of man, than to history proper, at 
least as it is commonly handled. Partly because in the 
former the data can be collected more accurately and 
completely than in the latter ; partly, because in histoiy 
proper, it is not so much men as nations and heroes that 
act, and the individuals who do appear, seem so far off, 
surrounded with such pomp and circumstance, clothed in 
the stiff robes of state, or heavy, inflexible armour, that 
it is really hard through all this to recognise the human 
movements. On the other hand, the life of the individual 
when described with truth, in a narrow sphere, shows 
the conduct of men in all its forms and subtilties, the 
excellence, the virtue, and even holiness of a few, the 
perversity, meanness, and knavery of most, the dissolute 
profligacy of some. Besides, in the only aspect we are 
considering here, that of the inner significance of the 
phenomenal, it is quite the same whether the objects 
With which the action is concerned, are, relatively con- 
sidered, trifling or important, farm-houses or kingdoms : 
for all these things in themselves are without significance, 
and obtain it only in so far as the will is moved by 
them. The motive has significance only through its 
relation to the will, while the relation which it has 
as a thing to other things like itself, does not concern 
us here. As a circle of one inch in diameter, and a 
circle of forty million miles in diameter, have precisely 
the same geometrical properties, so are the events and 
the history of a village and a kingdom essentially the 
same ; and we may study and learn to know mankind 
as well in the one as in the other. It is also a mistake 
to suppose that autobiographies are full of deceit and 
dissimulation. On the contrary, lying (though always 
possible) is perhaps more difficult there than elsewhere. 
Dissimulation is easiest in mere conversation; indeed, 
though it may sound paradoxical, it is really more 


320 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

difficult even in a letter. For in the case of a letter the 
writer is alone, and looks into himself, and not out on 
the world, so that what is strange and distant does not 
easily approach him ; and he has not the test of the 
impression made upon another before his eyes. But the 
receiver of the letter peruses it quietly in a mood 
unknown to the writer, reads it repeatedly and at 
different times, and thus easily finds out the concealed 
intention. We also get to know an author as a man 
most easily from his books, because all these circumstances 
act here still more strongly and permanently. And in 
an autobiography it is so difficult to dissimulate, that 
perhaps there does not exist a single one that is not, as 
a whole, more true, than any history that ever was 
written. The man who writes his own life surveys it as 
a whole, the particular becomes small, the near becomes 
distant, the distant becomes near again, the motives that 
influenced him shrink ; he seats himself at the con- 
fessional, and has done so of his own free will ; the 
spirit of lying does not so easily take hold of him here, 
for there is also in every man an inclination to truth 
which has first to be overcome whenever he lies, and 
which here has taken up a specially strong position. 
The relation between biography and the history of nations 
may be made clear for perception by means of the 
following comparison : History shows us mankind as a 
view from a high mountain shows us nature ; we see 
much at a time, wide stretches, great masses, but nothing 
is distinct nor recognisable in all the details of its own 
peculiar nature. On the other hand, the representation 
of the life of the individual shows us the man, as we 
see nature if we go about among her trees, plants, rocks, 
and waters. But in landscape-painting, in which the 
artist lets us look at nature with his eyes, the knowledge 
of the Ideas, and the condition of pure will-less knowing, 
which is demanded by these, is made much easier for us ; 
and, in the same way, poetry is far superior both to 


history and biography, in the representation of the Ideas 
which may be looked for in all three. For here also 
genius holds up to us the magic glass, in which all that 
is essential and significant appears before us collected 
and placed in the clearest light, and what is accidental 
and foreign is left out. 1 

The representation of the Idea of man, which is the 
work of the poet, may be performed, so that what is 
represented is also the representor. This is the case in 
lyrical poetry, in songs, properly so called, in which the 
poet only perceives vividly his own state and describes 
it. Thus a certain subjectivity is essential to this kind 
of poetry from the nature of its object. Again, what is 
to be represented may be entirely different from him who 
represents it, as is the case in all other kinds of poetry, 
in which the poet more or less conceals himself behind 
his representation, and at last disappears altogether. In 
the ballad the poet still expresses to some extent his own 
state through the tone and proportion of the whole ; 
therefore, though much more objective than the lyric, it 
has yet something subjective. This becomes less in the 
idyll, still less in the romantic poem, almost entirely 
disappears in the true epic, and even to the last vestige 
in the drama, which is the most objective and, in more 
than one respect, the completes t and most difficult form 
of poetry. The lyrical form of poetry is consequently 
/the easiest, and although art, as a whole, belongs only to 
the true man of genius, who so rarely appears, even a man 
who is not in general very remarkable may produce a 
beautiful song if, by actual strong excitement from without, 
some inspiration raises his mental powers ; for all that is 
required for this is a lively perception of his own state 
at a moment of emotional excitement. This is proved 
by the existence of many single songs by individuals who 
have otherwise remained unknown; especially the German 
national songs, of which we have an exquisite collection 

1 Cf. Ch. xxxviii. of Supplement. 
VOL. I. X 

j22 THE WORLD AS IDEA. BK. ill. 

in the " Wunderhorn ; " and also by innumerable love- 
songs and other songs of the people in all languages ;— 
for to seize the mood of a moment and embody it in a 
song is the whole achievement of this kind of poetry. Yet 
in the lyrics of true poets the inner nature of all man- 
kind is reflected, and all that millions of past, present, 
and future men have found, or will find, in the same 
situations, which are constantly recurring, finds its exact 
expression in them. And because these situations, by 
constant recurrence, are permanent as man himself and 
always call up the same sensations, the lyrical produc- 
tions of genuine poets remain through thousands of years 
true, powerful, and fresh. But if the poet is always the 
universal man, then all that has ever moved a human 
heart, all that human nature in any situation has ever 
produced from itself, all that dwells and broods in any 
human breast — is his theme and his material, and also 
all the rest of nature. Therefore the poet may just as 
well sing of voluptuousness as of mysticism, be Anacreon 
or Angelus Silesius, write tragedies or comedies, represent 
the sublime or the common mind — according to humour 
or vocation. And no one has the right to prescribe to 
the poet what he ought to be — noble and sublime, moral, 
pious, Christian, one thing or another, still less to re- 
proach him because he is one thing and not another. 
He is the mirror of mankind, and brings to its conscious- 
ness what it feels and does. 

If we now consider more closely the nature of the lyric 
proper, and select as examples exquisite and pure models, 
not those that approach in any way to some other form 
of poetry, such as the ballad, the elegy, the hymn, the 
epigram, &c, we shall find that the peculiar nature of 
the lyric, in the narrowest sense, is this : It is the sub- 
ject of will, i.e., his own volition, which the consciousness 
of the singer feels; often as a released and satisfied 
desire (joy), but still oftener as a restricted desire (grief), 
always as an emotion, a passion, a moved frame of mind. 


Besides this, however, and along with it, by the sight of 
surrounding nature, the singer becomes conscious of him- 
self as the subject of pure, will-less knowing, whose 
unbroken blissful peace now appears, in contrast to the 
stress of desire which is always restricted and always 
needy. The feeling of this contrast, this alternation, is 
really what the lyric as a whole expresses, and what 
principally constitutes the lyrical state of mind. In it 
pure knowing comes to us, as it were, to deliver us from 
desire and its stain ; we follow, but only for an instant ; 
desire, the remembrance of our own personal ends, tears 
us anew from peaceful contemplation ; yet ever again 
the next beautiful surrounding in which the pure will- 
less knowledge presents itself to us, allures us away from 
desira Therefore, in the lyric and the lyrical mood, de- 
sire (the personal interest of the ends), and pure percep- 
tion of the surrounding presented, are wonderfully mingled 
with each other ; connections between them are sought for 
and imagined ; the subjective disposition, the affection of 
the will, imparts its own hue to the perceived surrounding, 
and conversely, the surroundings communicate the reflex 
of their colour to the will. The true lyric is the expres- 
sion of the whole of this mingled and divided state of 
mind. In order to make clear by examples this abstract 
analysis of a frame of mind that is very far from all 
abstraction, any of the immortal songs of Goethe may be 
taken. As specially adapted for this end I shall recom- 
mend only a few : " The Shepherd's Lament," " Welcome 
and Farewell," "To the Moon," "On the Lake," "Autumn;" 
also the songs in the " Wunderhorn " are excellent ex- 
amples ; particularly the one which begins, " Bremen, 
I must now leave thee." As a comical and happy 
parody of the lyrical character a song of Voss strikes me 
as remarkable. It describes the feeling of a drunk 
plumber falling from a tower, who observes in passing 
that the clock on the tower is at half-past eleven, a 
remark which is quite foreign to his condition, and thus 



belongs to knowledge free from will. Whoever accepts 
the view that has been expressed of the lyrical frame of 
mind, will also allow, that it is the sensuous and poetical 
knowledge of the principle which I established in my 
essay on the Principle of Sufficient Reason, and have also 
referred to in this work, that the identity of the subject 
of knowing with that of willing may be called the 
miracle /car efo;^; so tnat tne P oetica ^ effect of the 
lyric rests finally on the truth of that principle. In the 
course of life these two subjects, or, in popular language, 
head and heart, are ever becoming further apart; men 
are always separating more between their subjective 
feeling and their objective knowledge. In the child the 
two are still entirely blended together ; it scarcely knows 
how to distinguish itself from its surroundings, it is 
at one with them In the young man all perception 
chiefly affects feeling and mood, and even mingles with 
it, as Byron very beautifully expresses — 

u I live not in myself, but I become 
Portion of that around me; and to me 
High mountains are a feeling." 

This is why the youth clings so closely to the per- 
ceptible and outward side of things ; this is why he is 
only fit for lyrical poetry, and only the full-grown man 
is capable of the drama. The old man we can think of 
as at the most an epic poet, like Ossian, and Homer, 
for narration is characteristic of old age. 

In the more objective kinds of poetry, especially in the 
romance, the epic, and the drama, the end, the revelation 
/ of the Idea of man, is principally attained by two means, 
yby true and profound representation of significant charac- 
ters, and by the invention of pregnant situations in which 
- they disclose themselves. For as it is incumbent upon 
the chemist not only to exhibit the simple elements, pure 
and genuine, and their principal compounds, but also to 
expose them to the influence of such reagents as will 


clearly and strikingly bring out their peculiar qualities, 
so is it incumbent on the poet not only to present to us 
significant characters truly and faithfully as nature itself ; 
but, in order that we may get to know them, he must 
place them in those situations in which their peculiar 
qualities will fully unfold themselves, and appear dis- 
tinctly in sharp outline ; situations which are therefore 
called significant. In real life, and in history, situations 
of this kind are rarely brought about by chance, and 
they stand alone, lost and concealed in the multitude of 
those which are insignificant. The complete significance 
of the situations ought to distinguish the romance, the 
epic, and the drama from real life as completely as the 
arrangement and selection of significant characters. In 
both, however, absolute truth is a necessary condition of 
their effect, and want of unity in the characters, contra- 
diction either of themselves or of the nature of humanity 
in general, as well as impossibility, or very great im- 
probability in the events, even in mere accessories, offend 
just as much in poetry as badly drawn figures, false per- 
spective, or wrong lighting in painting. For both in 
poetry and painting we demand the faithful mirror of life, 
of man, of the world, only made more clear by the re- 
presentation, and more significant by the arrangement. 
For there is only one end of all the arts, the represen- 
tation of the Ideas ; and their essential difference lies 
simply in the different grades of the objectification of will 
to which the Ideas that are to be represented belong. 
This also determines the material of the representation. 
Thus the arts which are most widely separated may yet 
throw light on each other. For example, in order to 
comprehend fully the Ideas of water it is not sufficient to 
see it in the quiet pond or in the evenly-flowing stream ; 
but these Ideas disclose themselves fully only when the 
water appears under all circumstances and exposed to all 
kinds of obstacles. The effects of the varied circum- 
stances and obstacles give it the opportunity of fully 

326 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

exhibiting all its qualities. This is why we find it 
beautiful when it tumbles, rushes, and foams, or leaps 
into the air, or falls in a cataract of spray ; or, lastly, if 
artificially confined it springs up in a fountain. Thus 
showing itself different under different circumstances, it 
yet always faithfully asserts its character ; it is just as 
natural to it to spout up as to lie in glassy stillness ; it 
is as ready for the one as for the other as soon as the 
circumstances appear. Now, what the engineer achieves 
with the fluid matter of water, the architect achieves with 
the rigid matter of stone, and just this the epic or dra- 
matic poet achieves with the Idea of man. Unfolding 
and rendering distinct the Idea expressing itself in the 
object of every art, the Idea of the will which objectifies 
itself at each grade, is the common end of all the arts. 
The life of man, as it shows itself for the most part in 
the real world, is like the water, as it is generally seen in 
the pond and the river ; but in the epic, the romance, the 
tragedy, selected characters are placed in those circum- 
stances in which all their special qualities unfold them- 
selves, the depths of the human heart are revealed, and 
become visible in extraordinary and very significant 
actions. Thus poetry objectifies the Idea of man, an Idea 
which has the peculiarity of expressing itself in highly 
individual characters. 

Tragedy is to be regarded, and is recognised as the 
summit of poetical art, both on account of the greatness 
of its effect and the difficulty of its achievement. It is 
very significant for our whole system, and well worthy 
of observation, that the end of this highest poetical 
achievement is the representation of the terrible side of 
life. The unspeakable pain, the wail of humanity, the 
triumph of evil, the scornful mastery of chance, and the 
irretrievable fall of the just and innocent, is here pre- 
sented to us ; and in this lies a significant hint of the 
nature of the world and of existence. It is the strife of 
j/will with itself, which here, completely unfolded at the 


highest grade of its objectivity, comes into fearful pro- 
minence. It becomes visible in the suffering of men, 
which is now introduced, partly through chance and 
error, which appear as the rulers of the world, personi- 
fied as fate, on account of their insidiousness, which even 
reaches the appearance of design ; partly it proceeds 
from man himself, through the self-mortifying efforts of 
a few, through the wickedness and perversity of most. 
It is one and the same will that lives and appears in 
them all, but whose phenomena fight against each other 
and destroy each other. In one individual it appears 
powerfully, in another more weakly ; in one more subject 
to reason, and softened by the light of knowledge, in 
another less so, till at last, in some single case, this 
knowledge, purified and heightened by suffering itself, 
reaches the point at which the phenomenon, the veil of 
Maya, no longer deceives it. It sees through the form V 
of the phenomenon, the principum individuationis. The 
egoism which rests on this perishes with it, so that now 
the motives that were so powerful before have lost their 
might, and instead of them the complete knowledge of 
the nature of the world, which has a quieting effect on 
the will, produces resignation, the surrender not merely 
of life, but of the very will to live. Thus we see in 
tragedies the noblest men, after long conflict and suffer- 
ing, at last renounce the ends they have so keenly 
followed, and all the pleasures of life for ever, or else 
freely and joyfully surrender life itself. So is it with 
the steadfast prince of Calderon; with Gretchen in 
" Faust ; " with Hamlet, whom his friend Horatio would 
willingly follow, but is bade remain a while, and in 
this harsh world draw his breath in pain, to tell the 
story of Hamlet, and clear his memory ; so also is it 
with the Maid of Orleans, the Bride of Messina; they 
all die purified by suffering, i.e., after the will to live 
which was formerly in them is dead. In the " Moham- 
med " of Voltaire this is actually expressed in the con- 

328 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

eluding words which the dying Palmira addresses to 
Mohammed : " The world is for tyrants : live ! " On the 
other hand, the demand for so-called poetical justice rests 
on entire misconception of the nature of tragedy, and, 
indeed, of the nature of the world itself. It boldly 
appears in all its dulness in the criticisms which Dr. 
Samuel Johnson made on particular plays of Shakspeare, 
for he very naively laments its entire absence. And its 
absence is certainly obvious, for in what has Ophelia, 
Desdemona, or Cordelia offended ? But only the dull, 
optimistic, Protestant-rationalistic, or peculiarly Jewish 
view of life will make the demand for poetical justice, 
and find satisfaction in it. The true sense of tragedy is 
,-the deeper insight, that it is not his own individual sins 
jr that the hero atones for, but original sin, *.«., the crime 
• of existence itself : 

" Pues el delito mayor 
Del hombre es haber nacido ; " 

(" For the greatest crime of man 
Is that he was born ; ") 

as Calderon exactly expresses it. 

I shall allow myself only one remark, more closely 
concerning the treatment of tragedy. The represen- 
tation of a great misfortune is alone essential to tragedy. 
But the many different ways in which this is introduced 
by the poet may be brought under three specific con- 
ceptions. It may happen by means of a character of 
extraordinary wickedness, touching the utmost limits of 
possibility, who becomes the author of the misfortune; 
examples of this kind are Richard III., Iago in " Othello," 
Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice," Franz Moor, 
Pheedra of Euripides, Creon in the " Antigone," &c., 
&c. Secondly, it may happen through blind fate, ie., 
chance and error; a true pattern of this kind is the 
(Edipus Rex of Sophocles, the " Trachiniae " also ; and 
in general most of the tragedies of the ancients belong 


to this class. Among modern tragedies, " Eomeo and 
Juliet," " Tancred " by Voltaire, and " The Bride of 
Messina," are examples. Lastly, the misfortune may be 
brought about by the mere position of the dramatis 
persona with regard to each other, through their relations ; 
so that there is no need either for a tremendous error or 
an unheard-of accident, nor yet for a character whose 
wickedness reaches the limits of human possibility ; but 
characters of ordinary morality, under circumstances such 
as often occur, are so situated with regard to each other 
that their position compels them, knowingly and with 
their eyes open, to do each other the greatest injury, 
without any one of them being entirely in the wrong. 
This last kind of tragedy seems to me far to surpass 
the other two, for it shows us the greatest misfor- 
tune, not as an exception, not as something occasioned 
by rare circumstances or monstrous characters, but as 
arising easily and of itself out of the actions and 
characters of men, indeed almost as essential to them, 
and thus brings it terribly near to us. In the other 
two kinds we may look on the prodigious fate and the 
horrible wickedness as terrible powers which certainly 
threaten us, but only from afar, which we may very well 
escape without taking refuge in renunciation. But in the 
last kind of tragedy we see that those powers which 
destroy happiness and life are such that their path to us 
also is open at every moment ; we see the greatest 
sufferings brought about by entanglements that our fate 
might also partake of, and through actions that perhaps 
we also are capable of performing, and so could not 
complain of injustice ; then shuddering we feel ourselves 
already in the midst of hell. This last kind of tragedy 
is also the most difficult of achievement ; for the greatest 
effect has to be produced in it with the least use of 
means and causes of movement, merely through the 
position and distribution of the characters ; therefore 
even in many of the best tragedies this difficulty is 



evaded. Yet one tragedy may be referred to as a perfect 
model of this kind, a tragedy which in other respects is 
far surpassed by more than one work of the same great 
master; it is "Clavigo." "Hamlet" belongs to a certain 
extent to this class, as far as the relation of Hamlet to 
Laertes and Ophelia is concerned. " Wallenstein" has also 
this excellence. " Faust " belongs entirely to this class, if 
we regard the events connected with Gretchen and her 
brother as the principal action ; also the " Cid " of Cor- 
neille, only that it lacks the tragic conclusion, while on 
the contrary the analogous relation of Max to Thecla 
has it. 1 

§ 5 2. Now that we have considered all the fine arts 
in the general way that is suitable to our point of view, 
beginning with architecture, the peculiar end of which is 
to elucidate the objectification of will at the lowest grades 
of its visibility, in which it shows itself as the dumb 
unconscious tendency of the mass in accordance with 
laws, and yet already reveals a breach of the unity of 
will with itself in a conflict between gravity and rigidity 
— and ending with the consideration of tragedy, which 
presents to us at the highest grades of the objectification 
of will this very conflict with itself in terrible magni- 
tude and distinctness ; we find that there is still another 
fine art which has been excluded from our consideration, 
and had to be excluded, for in the systematic connection 
of our exposition there was no fitting place for it — I 
mean music. It stands alone, quite cut off from all the 
other arts. In it we do not recognise the copy or 
repetition of any Idea of existence in the world. Yet it 
is such a great and exceedingly noble art, its effect on 
the inmost nature of man is so powerful, and it is so 
entirely and deeply understood by hi in in his inmost 
consciousness as a perfectly universal language, the 
distinctness of which surpasses even that of the per- 
ceptible world itself, that we certainly have mure to 

1 Cf. Ch. xxxvii. of the Supplement 


look for in it than an exercitum arithmeticoe occultum 
nescientis se numerare animi, 1 which Leibnitz called 
it. Yet he was perfectly right, as he considered 
only its immediate external significance, its form. But 
if it were nothing more, the satisfaction which it 
affords would be like that which we feel when 
a sum in arithmetic comes out right, and could not 
be that intense pleasure with which we see the deepest 
recesses of our nature find utterance. From our stand- 
point, therefore, at which the aesthetic effect is the 
criterion, we must attribute to music a far more serious 
and deep significance, connected with the inmost nature 
of the world and our own self, and in reference to which 
the arithmetical proportions, to which it may be reduced, 
are related, not as the thing signified, but merely as the 
sign. That in some sense music must be related to the 
world as the representation to the thing represented, as 
the copy to the original, we may conclude from the 
analogy of the other arts, all of which possess this 
character, and affect us on the whole in the same way 
as it does, only that the effect of music is stronger, 
quicker, more necessary and infallible. Further, its 
representative relation to the world must be very deep, 
absolutely true, and strikingly accurate, because it is 
instantly understood by every one, and has the appear- 
ance of a certain infallibility, because its form may be 
reduced to perfectly definite rules expressed in numbers, 
from which it cannot free itself without entirely ceasing 
to be music. Yet the point of comparison between 
music and the world, the respect in which it stands to 
the world in the relation of a copy or repetition, is very 
obscure. Men have practised music in all ages without 
being able to account for this ; content to understand it 
directly, they renounce all claim to an abstract concep- 
tion of this direct understanding itself. 
/ I gave my mind entirely up to the impression of music 

1 Leibnitii epistolae, collectio Kortholti, ep. 154. 


332 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

in all its forms, and then returned to reflection and the 
system of thought expressed in the present work, and 
thus I arrived at an explanation of the inner nature of 
music and of the nature of its imitative relation to the 
world — which from analogy had necessarily to be pre- 
supposed — an explanation which is quite sufficient for 
myself, and satisfactory to my investigation, and which 
will doubtless be equally evident to any one who has 
followed me thus far and has agreed with my view of 
the world. Yet I recognise the fact that it is essentially 
impossible to prove this explanation, for it assumes and 
establishes a relation of music, as idea, to that which 
from its nature can never be idea, and music will have 
to be regarded as the copy of an original which can 
never itself be directly presented as idea. I can therefore 
do no more than state here, at the conclusion of this 
third book, which has been principally devoted to the 
consideration of the arts, the explanation of the marvellous 
art of music which satisfies myself, and I must leave the 
acceptance or denial of my view to the effect produced upon 
each of my readers both by music itself and by the whole 
system of thought communicated in this work. More- 
over, I regard it as necessary, in order to be able to assent 
with full conviction to the exposition of the significance 
of music I am about to give, that one should often listen 
to music with constant reflection upon my theory con- 
cerning it, and for this again it is necessary to be very 
familiar with the whole of my system of thought. 

The (Platonic) Ideas are the adequate objectification of 
will. To excite or suggest the knowledge of these by 
means of the representation of particular things (for 
works of art themselves are always representations of 
particular things) is the end of all the other arts, which 
can only be attained by a corresponding change in the 
knowing subject. Thus all these arts objectify the will 
indirectly only by means of the Ideas ; and since our 
world is nothing but the manifestation of the Ideas in 


multiplicity, though their entrance into the principium 
individuationis (the form of the knowledge possible for 
the individual as such), music also, since it passes over 
the Ideas, is entirely independent of the phenomenal 
world, ignores it altogether, could to a certain extent exist 
if there was no world at all, which cannot be said of the 
other arts. Music is as direct an objectification and copy of 
the whole will as the world itself, nay, even as the Ideas, 
whose multiplied manifestation constitutes the world of 
individual things. Music is thus by no means like the 
other arts, the copy of the Ideas, but the copy of the will 
itself, whose objectivity the Ideas are. This is why the 
effect of music is so much more powerful and penetrating 
than that of the other arts, for they speak only of shadows, 
but it speaks of the thing itself. Since, however, it is the 
same will which objectifies itself both in the Ideas and in 
music, though in quite different ways, there must be, not 
indeed a direct likeness, but yet a parallel, an analogy, 
! between music and the Ideas whose manifestation in 
( multiplicity and incompleteness is the visible world. The 
establishing of this analogy will facilitate, as an illustra- 
tion, the understanding of this exposition, which is so 
difficult on account of the obscurity of the subject. 

I recognise in the deepest tones of harmony, in the 
> bass, the lowest grades of the objectification of will, T 
unorganised nature, the mass of the planet. It is well 
known that all the high notes which are easily sounded, 
and die away more quickly, are produced by the vibration 
in their vicinity of the deep bass-notes. When, also, the 
low notes sound, the high notes always sound faintly, 
and it is a law of harmony that only those high notes 
may accompany a bass -note which actually already 
sound along with it of themselves (its sons harmoniques) 
on account of its vibration. This is analogous to the fact 
that the whole of the bodies and organisations of nature 
must be regarded as having come into existence through 
gradual development out of the mass of the planet ; thif 



is both their supporter and their source, and the same 
relation subsists between the high notes and the bass. 
< There is a limit of depth, below which no sound is 
^ audible. This corresponds to the fact that no matter 
, can be perceived without form and quality, i.e., without 
the manifestation of a force which cannot be further ex- 
plained, in which an Idea expresses itself, and, more 
generally, that no matter can be entirely without wilL 
Thus, as a certain pitch is inseparable from the note as 
such, so a certain grade of the manifestation of will is 
inseparable from matter. Bass is thus, for us, in har- 
mony what unorganised nature, the crudest mass, upon 
which all rests, and from which everything originates and 
develops, is in the world. Now, further, in the whole of 
the complemental parts which make up the harmony be- 
tween the bass and the leading voice singing the melody, 
I recognise the whole gradation of the Ideas in which the 
will objectifies itself. Those nearer to the bass are the 
lower of these grades, the still unorganised, but yet mani- 
fold phenomenal things ; the higher represent to me the 
world of plants and beasts. The definite intervals of the 
scale are parallel to the definite grades of the objectifi- 
cation of will, the definite species in nature. The de- 
parture from the arithmetical correctness of the intervals, 
through some temperament, or produced by the key 
selected, is analogous to the departure of the individual 
from the type of the species. Indeed, even the impure 
discords, which give no definite interval, may be com- 
pared to the monstrous abortions produced by beasts of 
two species, or by man and beast. But to all these bass 
and complemental parts which make up the harmony 
there is wanting that connected progress which belongs 
only to the high voice singing the melody, and it alone 
moves quickly and lightly in modulations and runs, while 
all these others have only a slower movement without a 
^connection in each part for itself. The deep bass moves 
*most slowly, the representative of the crudest mass. Its 


rising and falling occurs only by large intervals, in thirds, 
fourths, fifths, never by one tone, unless it is a base in- ( 
verted by double counterpoint. This slow movement is * 
also physically essential to it; a quick run or shake in 
the low notes cannot even be imagined. The higher 
complemental parts, which are parallel to animal life, 
move more quickly, but yet without melodious connec- 
tion and significant progress. The disconnected course of 
all the complemental parts, and their regulation by 
definite laws, is analogous to the fact that in the whole 
irrational world, from the crystal to the most perfect 
animal, no being has a connected consciousness of its own 
which would make its life into a significant whole, and 
none experiences a succession of mental developments, 
none perfects itself by culture, but everything exists 
always in the same way according to its kind, determined 
by fixed law. Lastly, in the melody, in the high, singing, 
principal voice leading the whole and progressing with ' 
unrestrained freedom, in the unbroken significant connec- 
tion of one thought from beginning to end representing a 
whole, I recognise the highest grade of the object ification 
of will, the intellectual life and effort of man. As he 
alone, because endowed with reason, constantly looks 
before and after on the path of his actual life and its 
innumerable possibilities, and so achieves a course of life 
which is intellectual, and therefore connected as a whole ; 
corresponding to this, I say, the melody has significant 
intentional connection from beginning to end. It records, 
therefore, the history of the intellectually enlightened 
will. This will expresses itself in the actual world as 
the series of its deeds ; but melody says more, it records 
the most secret history of this intellectually-enlightened 
will, pictures every excitement, every effort, every move- 
ment of it, all that which the reason collects under the 
wide and negative concept of feeling, and which it 
cannot apprehend further through its abstract con- 
cepts. Therefore it has always been said that music 

336 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

is the language of feeling and of passion, as words are 
the language of reason. Plato explains it as 17 roav 
fieXayv Kivrjai^ fjL€fiifjLT)jM€VT) t ev toi<? iraOrjfiaaiv orav ^rv^q 
yivrjTcu (melodiarum motus, animi affectus imilans), De 
Leg. vii.; and also Aristotle says: hia rt ol pvOfioi kcli ra 
/jl€\tj, (fxoprj ovaa, rjOeaw eouce (cur numeri musici et modi, 
qui voces sunt, moribus similes sese exhibent ?) : Probl. c. 1 9. 
Now the nature of man consists in this, that his will 
strives, is satisfied and strives anew, and so on for ever. 
Indeed, his happiness and well-being consist simply in 
the quick transition from wish to satisfaction, and from 
satisfaction to a new wish. For the absence of satis- 
faction is suffering, the empty longing for a new wish, 
languor, ennui. And corresponding to this the n ature 
of mel ody is a constant digression and deviation fr om 
the k ey-note in a thousand ways, not only to the har - 
monious intervals to the .third and dominant , but to 
every tone, to the dissonant sevenths an d to the super- 
fluous degrees; yet there always follows a constant 
return to the key-note. In all these deviations melody 
expresses the multifarious efforts of will, but always its 
satisfaction also by the final return to an harmonious 
interval, and still more, to the key-note. The composi- 
ton of melody, the disclosure in it of all the deepest 
secrets of human willing and feeling, is the work of 
genius, whose action, which is more apparent here than 
anywhere else, lies far from all reflection and conscious 
Ljntention, and may be called an f ~ ins pirationj The con- 
ception is here, as everywhere in art, unfruitful The 
composer reveals the inner nature of the world, and 
expres ses the deepest wisdom in a language which hi s 
reasoiT does not understand ; as a person under the 
influence of mesmerism tells things of which he has no 
conception when he awakes. Therefore in the composer, 
I more than in any other artist, the man is entirely sepa- 
| rated and distinct from the artist. Even in the explana- 
tion of this wonderful art, the concept shows its poverty 


and limitation. I shall try, however, to complete our 
analogy. As quick transition from wish to satisfaction, 
and from satisfaction to a new wish, is happiness and 
well-being, so quick melodies without great deviations 
are cheerful ; slow melodies, striking painful discords, 
and only winding back through many bars to the key- 
note are, as analogous to the delayed and hardly won 
satisfaction, sad. The delay of the new excitement of 
will, languor, could have no other expression than the 
sustained keynote, the effect of which would soon be 
unbearable; very monotonous and unmeaning melodies 
approach this effect. The short intelligible subjects of 
quick dance-music seem to speak only of easily attained 
common pleasure. On the other hand, the Allegro maes- 
toso, in elaborate movements, long passages, and wide 
deviations, signifies a greater, nobler effort towards a 
more distant end, and its final attainment. The Adagio 
speaks of the pain of a great and noble effort which 
despises all trifling happiness. But how wonderful is 
the effect of the minor and major! How astounding 
that the change of half a tone, the entrance of a minor 
third instead of a major, at once and inevitably forces 
upon us an anxious painful feeling, from which again we 
are just as instantaneously delivered by the major. The 
Adagio lengthens in the minor the expression of the 
keenest pain, and becomes even a convulsive wail. 
Dance-music in the minor seems to indicate the failure 
of that trifling happiness which we ought rather to 
despise, seems to speak of the attainment of a lower end 
with toil and trouble. The inexhaustibleness of possible 
melodies corresponds to the inexhaustibleness of Nature 
in difference of individuals, physiognomies, and courses 
of life. The transition from one key to an entirely 
different one, since it altogether breaks the connection 
with what went before, is like death, for the individual 
ends in it ; but the will which appeared in this indi- 
vidual lives after him as before him, appearing in other 
vol. 1. Y 

33 8 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. in. 

individuals, whose consciousness, however, has no connec- 
tion with his. 

But it must never be forgotten, in the investigation of 
all these analogies I have pointed out, that music has no 
direct, but merely an indirect relation to them, for it 
never expresses the phenomenon, but only the inner 
nature, the in-itself of all phenomena, the will itself. 
It does not therefore express this or that particular and 
definite joy, this or that sorrow, or pain, or horror, or 
delight, or merriment, or peace of mind ; but joy, sor- 
row, pain, horror, delight, merriment, peace of mind 
themselves, to a certain extent in the abstract, their 
essential nature, without accessories, and therefore with- 
out their motives. Yet we completely understand them 
in this extracted quintessence. Hence it arises that our 
imagination is so easily excited by music, and now seeks 
to give form to that invisible yet actively moved spirit- 
world which speaks to us directly, and clothe it with 
flesh and blood, i.e., to embody it in an analogous 
example. This is the origin of the song with words, 
and finally of the opera, the text of which should there- 
fore never forsake that subordinate position in order to 
make itself the chief thing and the music a mere means 
of expressing it, which is a great misconception and a 
piece of utter perversity; for music always expresses 
only the quintessence of life and its events, never these 
themselves, and therefore their differences do not always 
atfect it It is precisely this universality, which belongs 
exclusively to it, together with the greatest determinate- 
ness, that gives music the high worth which it has as the 
panacea for all our woes. Thus, if music is too closely 
united to the words, and tries to form itself according to 
the events, it is striving to speak a language which is 
not its own. No one has kept so free from this mistake 
y . as Eossini; therefore his music speaks its own language 
so distinctly and purely that it requires no words, and 
produces its full effect when rendered by instruments alone 


According to all this, we may regard the phenomenal \T 
world, or nature, and music as two different expressions \^_ 
of the same thing, which is therefore itself the only 
medium of their analogy, so that a knowledge of it is 
demanded in order to understand that analogy. Music, 
therefore, if regarded as an expression of the world, is in 
the highest degree a universal language, which is related \ 
indeed to the universality of concepts, much as they are f 
related to the particular things. Its universality, how- 
ever, is by no means that empty universality of abstrac- 
tion, but quite of a different kind, and is united with 
thorough and distinct definiteness. In this respect it 
resembles geometrical figures and numbers, which are the 
universal forms of all possible objects of experience and 
applicable to them all a 'priori, and yet are not abstract 
but perceptible and thoroughly determined. All possible 
efforts, excitements, and manifestations of will, all that 
goes on in the heart of man and that reason includes in 
the wide, negative concept of feeling, may be expressed 
by the infinite number of possible melodies, but always \ 
in the universal, in the mere form, without the material, 
always according to the thing-in-itself, not the pheno- 
menon, the inmost soul, as it were, of the phenomenon, 
without the body. This deep relation which music has to 
the true nature of all things also explains the fact that 
suitable music played to any scene, action, event, or sur- - 
rounding seems to disclose to us its most secret meaning, 
and appears as the most accurate and distinct commen- 
tary upon it. This is so truly the case, that whoever 
gives himself up entirely to the impression of a symphony, 
seems to see all the possible events of life and the world 
take place in himself, yet if he reflects, he can find no 
likeness between the music and the things that passed 
before his mind. For, as we have said, music is dis- 
tinguished from all the other arts by the fact that it is 
not a copy of the phenomenon, or, more accurately, the 
adequate objectivity of will, but is the direct copy of the 

340 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi 

will itself, and therefore exhibits itself as the meta- \ 
physical to everything physical in the world, and as the \ 
thing-in-itself to every phenomenon. We might, there- 
fore, just as well call the world embodied music as / 
embodied will ; and this is the reason why music makes 
every picture, and indeed every scene of real life and of 
the world, at once appear with higher significance, cer- 
tainly all the more in proportion as its melody is 
analogous to the inner spirit of the given phenomenon. 
It rests upon this that we are able to set a poem to 
music as a song, or a perceptible representation as a panto- 
mime, or both as an opera. Such particular pictures of 
human life, set to the universal language of music, are never 
bound to it or correspond to it with stringent necessity ; but 
they stand to it only in the relation of an example chosen 
at will to a general concept. In the determinateness 
of the real, they represent that which music expresses in 
the universality of mere form. For melodies are to a 
certain extent, like general concepts, an abstraction from 
the actual. This actual world, then, the world of par- 
ticular things, affords the object of perception, the special 
and individual, the particular case, both to the universality 
of the concepts and to the universality of the melodies. 
But these two universalities are in a certain respect 
opposed to each other ; for the concepts contain particulars 
only as the first forms abstracted from perception, as it 
were, the separated shell of things ; thus they are, strictly 
speaking, abstracta ; music, on the other hand, gives the 
inmost kernel which precedes all forms, or the heart of 
things. This relation may be very well expressed in the 
language of the schoolmen by saying the concepts are 
the universalia post rem, but music gives the universalia 
ante rem, and the real world the universalia in re. To the 
universal significance of a melody to which a poem has 
been set, it is quite possible to set other equally arbitrarily 
selected examples of the universal expressed in this poem 
corresponding to the significance of the melody in the 


same degree. This is why the same composition is suit- 
able to many verses ; and this is also what makes the 
vaudeville possible. But that in general a relation is 
possible between a composition and a perceptible repre- 
sentation rests, as we have said, upon the fact that both 
are simply different expressions of the same inner being 
of the world. When now, in the particular case, such a 
relation is actually given, that is to say, when the com- 
poser has been able to express in the universal language 
of music the emotions of will which constitute the heart 
of an event, then the melody of the song, the music of 
the opera, is expressive. But the analogy discovered by 
the composer between the two must have proceeded from 
the direct knowledge of the nature of the world unknown 
to his reason, and must not be an imitation produced 
with conscious intention by means of conceptions, other- 
wise the music does not express the inner nature of the 
will itself, but merely gives an inadequate imitation of 
its phenomenon. All specially imitative music does this ; 
for example, " The Seasons," by Haydn ; also many pas- 
sages of his " Creation," in which phenomena of the ex- 
ternal world are directly imitated; also all battle-pieces. 
Such music is entirely to be rejected. 

The unutterable depth of all music by virtue of which 
it floats through our consciousness as the vision of a 
paradise firmly believed in yet ever distant from us, and 
by which also it is so fully understood and yet so inex- 
plicable, rests on the fact that it restores to us all the 
emotions of our inmost nature, but entirely without 
reality and far removed from their pain. So also the 
seriousness which is essential to it, which excludes the 
absurd from its direct and peculiar province, is to be 
explained by the fact that its object is not the idea, with 
reference to which alone deception and absurdity are 
possible ; but its object is directly the will, and this is 
essentially the most serious of all things, for it is that on 
which all depends. How rich in content and full of 

342 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. in. 

significance the language of music is, we see from the 
repetitions, as well as the Da capo, the like of which 
would be unbearable in works composed in a language 
of words, but in music are very appropriate and beneficial, 
for, in order to comprehend it fully, we must hear it 

In the whole of this exposition of music I have been 
trying to bring out clearly that it expresses in a perfectly 
universal language, in a homogeneous material, mere tones, 
and with the greatest determinateness and truth, the inner 
nature, the in-itself of the world, which we think under 
the concept of will, because will is its most distinct 
manifestation. Further, according to my view and con- 
tention, philosophy is nothing but a complete and accurate 
repetition or expression of the nature of the world in 
very general concepts, lor only in such is it possible to 
get a view of that whole nature which will everywhere 
be adequate and applicable. Thus, whoever has followed 
me and entered into my mode of thought, will not think 
it so very paradoxical if I say, that supposing it were 
possible to give a perfectly accurate, complete explana- 
tion of music, extending even to particulars, that is to 
say, a detailed repetition in concepts of what it expresses, 
this would also be a sufficient repetition and explanation 
of the world in concepts, or at least entirely parallel to 
such an explanation, and thus it would be the true 
philosophy. Consequently the saying of Leibnitz quoted 
above, which is quite accurate from a lower standpoint, 
may be parodied in the following way to suit our higher 
view of music : Miisica est exercitium metaphysices occul- 
tum nescientis se philosophari animi ; for scire, to know, 
always means to have fixed in abstract concepts. But 
further, on account of the truth of the saying of Leibnitz, 
which is confirmed in various ways, music, regarded apart 
from its aesthetic or inner significance, and looked at 
merely externally and purely empirically, is simply the 
means of comprehending directly and in the concrete 


large numbers and complex relations of numbers, which 
otherwise we could only know indirectly by fixing them 
in concepts. Therefore by the union of these two very 
different but correct views of music we may arrive at a 
conception of the possibility of a philosophy of number, 
such as that of Pythagoras and of the Chinese in Y-King, 
and then interpret in this sense the saying of the Pytha- 
goreans which Sextus Empiricus quotes (adv. Math., L. 
vii.) : r<p api6}i(p Be ra Train eireoiicev (iiumero cuncta 
assimilantur). And if, finally, we apply this view to the 
interpretation of harmony and melody given above, we 
shall find that a mere moral philosophy without an 
explanation of Nature, such as Socrates wanted to intro- 
duce, is precisely analogous to a mere melody without 
harmony, which Eousseau exclusively desired ; and, in 
opposition to this mere physics and metaphysics without 
ethics, will correspond to mere harmony without melody. 
Allow me to add to these cursory observations a few more 
remarks concerning the analogy of music with the pheno- 
menal world. We found in the second book that the 
highest grade of the objectification of will, man, could not 
appear alone and isolated, but presupposed the grades 
below him, as these again presupposed the grades lower 
still In the same way music, which directly objectifies 
the will, just as the world does, is complete only in full 
harmony. In order to achieve its full effect, the high 
leading voice of the melody requires the accompaniment 
of all the other voices, even to the lowest bass, which is 
to be regarded as the origin of all. The melody itself 
enters as an integral part into the harmony, as the har- 
mony enters into it, and only thus, in the full harmonious 
whole, music expresses what it aims at expressing. Thus 
also the one will outside of time finds its full objectifica- 
tion only in the complete union of all the steps which 
reveal its nature in the innumerable ascending grades of 
distinctness. The following analogy is also very remark- 
able. We have seen in the preceding book that not- 

344 THE WORLD AS IDEA. bk. hi. 

withstanding the self-adaptation of all the phenomena of 
will to each other as regards their species, which con- 
stitutes their teleological aspect, there yet remains an 
unceasing conflict between those phenomena as indi- 
viduals, which is visible at every grade, and makes the 
world a constant battle-field of all those manifestations 
of one and the same will, whose inner contradiction with 
itself becomes visible through it. In music also there 
is something corresponding to this. A complete, pure, 
harmon ous system of tones is not only physically but 
arithmetically impossible. The numbers themselves by 
which the tones are expressed have inextricable irra- 
tionality. There is no scale in which, when it is counted, 
every fifth will be related to the keynote as 2 to 3, 
every major third as 4 to 5, every minor third as 5 to 6, 
and so on. For if they are correctly related to the key- 
note, they can no longer be so to each other ; because, 
for example, the fifth must be the minor third to the 
third, &c. For the notes of the scale may be compared 
to actors who must play now one part, now another. 
Therefore a perfectly accurate system of music cannot 
even be thought, far less worked out; and on this 
account all possible music deviates from perfect purity ; 
it can only conceal the discords essential to it by dividing 
them among all the notes, ie., by temperament. On this 
see Chladni's "Akustik," § 30, and his "Kurze Uebersicht 
der Schall- und Klanglehre." x 

I might still have something to say about the way in 
which music is perceived, namely, in and through time 
alone, with absolute exclusion of space, and also apart 
from the influence of the knowledge of causality, thus 
without understanding ; for the tones make the aesthetic 
impression as effect, and without obliging us to go back 
to their causes, as in the case of perception. I do not 
wish, however, to lengthen this discussion, as I have per- 
haps already gone too much into detail with regard to 

1 Cf. Ch. xxxix. of Supplement. 


some things in this Third Book, or have dwelt too much 
on particulars. But my aim made it necessary, and it 
will be the less disapproved if the importance and high 
worth of art, which is seldom sufficiently recognised, be 
kept in mind. For if, according to our view, the whole 
visible world is just the objectification, the mirror, of the 
will, conducting it to knowledge of itself, and, indeed, as 
we shall soon see, to the possibility of its deliverance ; 
and if, at the same time, the world as idea, if we regard 
it in isolation, and, freeing ourselves from all volition, 
allow it alone to take possession of our consciousness, is 
the most joy-giving and the only innocent side of life ; we 
must regard art as the higher ascent, the more complete 
development of all this, for it achieves essentially just 
what is achieved by the visible world itself, only with 
greater concentration, more perfectly, with intention and 
intelligence, and therefore may be called, in the full 
significance of the word, the flower of life. If the whole 
world as idea is only the visibility of will, the work of 
art is to render this visibility more distinct. It is the 
camera obscura which shows the objects more purely, and 
enables us to survey them and comprehend them better. 
It is the play within the play, the stage upon the stage t— 
in " Hamlet." 

The pleasure we receive from all beauty, the consola- 
tion which art affords, the enthusiasm of the artist, which 
enables him to forget the cares of life, — the latter an 
advantage of the man of genius over other men, which 
alone repays him for the suffering that increases in pro- 
portion to the clearness of consciousness, and for the 
desert loneliness among men of a different race, — all this 
rests on the fact that the in-itself of life, the will, exist- 
ence itself, is, as we shall see farther on, a constant 
sorrow, partly miserable, partly terrible; while, on the 
contrary, as idea alone, purely contemplated, or copied 
by art, free from pain, it presents to us a drama full of 
significance. This purely knowable side of the world, 

346 TUB WORLD AS IDEA. bk. in. 

and the copy of it in any art, is the element of the 
artist. He is chained to the contemplation of the play, 
the objectification of will; he remains beside it, does 
not get tired of contemplating it and representing it in 
copies ; and meanwhile he bears himself the cost of the 
production of that play, i.e., he himself is the will which 
objectifies itself, and remains in constant suffering. That 
pure, true, and deep knowledge of the inner nature of 
the world becomes now for him an end in itself : he stops 
there. Therefore it does not become to him a quieter of 
the will, as, we shall see in the next book, it does in the 
case of the saint who has attained to resignation ; it does 
not deliver him for ever from life, but only at moments, 
and is therefore not for him a path out of life, but only 
an occasional consolation in it, till his power, increased 
by this contemplation and at last tired of the play, lays 
hold on the real. The St Cecilia of Kaphael may be 
regarded as a representation of this transition. To the 
real, then, we now turn in the following book. 

Jourtjj JSoofu 




Tempore quo cognitio simul advenit, amor e medio supersurrexit.— - 
Oupnek'hat, Studio AnquetU Duperron, vol. ii. p. 216. 

( 349 ) 


§ 53* The last part of our work presents itself as the 
most serious, for it relates to the action of men, the 
matter which concerns every one directly and can be 
foreign or indifferent to none. It is indeed so charac- 
teristic of the nature of man to relate everything else to 
action, that in every systematic investigation he will 
always treat the part that has to do with action as the 
result or outcome of the whole work, so far, at least, as 
it interests him, and will therefore give his most serious 
attention to this part, even if to no other. In this 
respect the following part of our work would, in ordinary 
language, be called practical philosophy, in opposition to 
the theoretical, which has occupied us hitherto. But, in 
my opinion, all philosophy is theoretical, because it is 
essential to it that it should retain a purely contempla- 
tive attitude, and should investigate, not prescribe. To 
become, on the contrary, practical, to guide conduct, to 
transform character, are old claims, which with fuller 
insight it ought finally to give up. For here, where the 
worth or worth lessness of an existence, where salvation 
or damnation are in question, the dead conceptions of 
philosophy do not decide the matter, but the inmost 
nature of man himself, the Diemon that guides him and 
that has not chosen him, but been chosen by him, as 
Plato would say ; his intelligible character, as Kant 
expresses himself. Virtue cannot be taught any more 
than genius ; indeed, for it the concept is just as unfruit- 
ful as it is in art, and in both cases can onlv be used as 

350 THE WORLD AS WILL. wc. iv. 

an instrument. It would, therefore, be just as absurd to 
expect that our moral systems and ethics will produce 
virtuous, noble, and holy men, as that our aesthetics will 
produce poets, painters, and musicians. 

Philosophy can never do more than interpret and 
explain what is given. It can only bring to distinct 
abstract knowledge of the reason the nature of the world 
which in the concrete, that is, as feeling, expresses itself 
comprehensibly to every one. This, however, it does in 
every possible reference and from every point of view. 
Now, as this attempt has been made from other points of 
view in the three preceding books with the generality 
that is proper to philosophy, in this book the action of 
men will be considered in the same way ; and this side 
of the world might, indeed, be considered the most im- 
portant of all, not only subjectively, as I remarked above, 
but also objectively. In considering it I shall faithfully 
adhere to the method I have hitherto followed, and shall 
support myself by presupposing all that has already been 
advanced. There is, indeed, just one thought which forms 
the content of this whole work. I have endeavoured to 
work it out in all other spheres, and I shall now do so 
with regard to human action. I shall then have done 
all that is in my power to communicate it as fully as 

The given point of view, and the method of treatment 
announced, are themselves sufficient to indicate that in 
this ethical book no precepts, no doctrine of duty must 
be looked for; still less will a general moral principle 
be given, an universal receipt, as it were, for the produc- 
tion of all the virtues. Neither shall we talk of an 
" absolute ought" for this contains a contradiction, as is 
explained in the Appendix ; nor yet of a " law of freedom!* 
which is in the same position. In general, we shall not 
speak at all of "ought," for this is how one speaks to 
children and to nations still in their childhood, but not 
to those who have appropriated all the culture of a full- 


grown age. It is a palpable contradiction to call the 
will free, and yet to prescribe laws for it according to 
which it ought to will. " Ought to will ! " — wooden iron ! 
But it follows from the point of view of our system that 
the will is not only free, but almighty. From it proceeds 
not only its^action T but also its world ; and as JbETwill 
is, "so does its action and its world become. Both are 
the selHnowiedge of tnlT wiTr^anT^nothihg more. The 
will determines itself, and at the same time both its 
action and its world ; for besides it there is nothing, and 
these are the will itself. Only thus is the will truly 
autonomous, and from every other point of view it is 
heteronomous. Our philosophical endeavours can only 
extend to exhibiting and ex plaini ng the action of m e n 
in its inner nature and contejii, the various and even 
opposite maxims, whose living expression it is. This we 
shall do in connection with the preceding portion of our 
work, and in precisely the same way as we have hitherto 
explained the other phenomena of the world, and have 
sought to_ brings their inmost n ature to distinct, abstract 
jcnowledge. OuT~philosophy will maintain the same 
immanency in the case of action, as in all that we have 
hitherto considered. Notwithstanding Kant's great doc- 
trine, it will not attempt to use the forms of the pheno- 
menon, the universal expression of which is the principle 
of sufficient reason, as a leaping-pole to jump over the 
phenomenon itself, which alone gives meaning to these 
forms, and land in the boundless sphere of empty fictions. 
But this actual world of exp erience, in which jwe are, and 
which is in us, remains both the material and thej^mite 
of our consideration : a world which is so rich in content 
that even the most searching investigation of which the 
human mind is capable could not exhaust it. Since then 
the real world of experience will never fail to afford 
material and reality to our ethical investigations, any more 
than to those we have already conducted, nothing will be 
less needful than to take refuge in negative conceptions 

352 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

void of content, and then somehow or other make even 
ourselves believe that we are saying something when we 
speak with lifted eyebrows of "absolutes," "infinites," 
" supersensibles," and whatever other mere negations of 
this sort there may be (ovhev eon, rj to ttjs aTeprjaeco^; 
ovofia, fiera a/jbvSpas eirwoui*; — nihil est, nisi negationis 
nomen, cum obscura notione. — Jul. or. 5), instead of which 
it would be shorter to say at once -cloud- cuckoo-town 
(v€(p€\oKotcfcvyui) : we shall not require to serve up covered 
empty dishes of this kind. Finally, we shall not in this 
book, any more than in those which have preceded it, 
narrate histories and give them out as philosophy. For 
t we are of opinion that whoever supposes that the inner 
v nature of the world can m any way, however plausibly 

disguised, be historically comprehended, is in fi nitely fa r 
from a philosophical knowledge of the world. Yet this is 
what is supposed whenever a a becoming," or a " having 
become," or an " about to become " enters into a theory of 
the nature of the world, whenever an earlier or a later has 
the least place in it ; and in this way a beginning and an 
end of the world, and the path it pursues between them, is, 
either openly or disguisedly, both sought for and found, 
and the individual who philosophises even recognises his 
own position on that path. Such historical philosophis- 
ing in most cases produces a cosmogony which admits 
of many varieties, or else a system of emanations, a doc- 
trine of successive disengagements from one being; or, 
finally, driven in despair from fruitless efforts upon these 
paths to the last path of all, it takes refuge in the con- 
verse doctrine of a constant becoming, springing up, aris- 
ing, coming to light out of darkness, out of the hidden 
ground source or groundlessness, or whatever other non- 
sense of this sort there may be, which is most shortly 
disposed of with the remark that at the 1 ; esent moment a 
whole eternity, i.e., an endless time, has already passed, so 
that everything that can or ought to become must have 
already done so. For all such historical philosophy, what- 


ever airs it may give itself, regards time just as if Kant 
had never lived, as a quality of the thing- in-itself, and thus 
stops at that which Kant calls the phenomenon in oppo- 
sition to the thing-in-itself ; which Plato calls the becom- 
ing and never being, in opposition to the being and never 
becoming; and winch, finally, is called in the Indian * 
philosophy the web of Maya. It is just the knowledge \ 
which belongs to the principle of sufficient reason, with 
which no one can penetrate to the inner nature of 
things, but endlessly pursues phenomena, moving without 
end or aim, like a squirrel in its wheel, till, tired out 
at last, he stops at some point or other arbitrarily 
chosen, and now desires to extort respect for it from 
others also. The genuine philosophical consideration 
of the world, i.e., the consideration that affords us a 
knowledge of its inner nature, and so leads us beyond 
the phenomenon, is precisely that method which does 
not concern itself with the whence, the whither, and 
the why of the world, but always and everywhere 
demands only the what; the method which considers 
things not according to any relation, not as becoming 
and passing away, in short, not according to one of the 
four forms of the principle of sufficient reason ; but, on 
the contrary, just that which remains when all that 
belongs to the form of knowledge proper to that prin- 
ciple has been abstracted, the inner nature of the world, 
which always appears unchanged in all the relations, 
but is itself never subject to them, and has the Ideas of 
the world as its object or material. From such knowledge 
as this proceeds philosophy, like art, and also, as we 
shall see in this book, that disposition of mind which 
alone leads to true holiness and to deliverance from the 

§ 54. The first three books will, it is hoped, have 
conveyed the distinct and certain knowledge that the 
world as idea is the complete mirror of the will, in ! 
wnTch it knows itself in ascending"grades" of distinctness 




and completeness, the highest of which is man, whose 
I nature, however, receives its complete expression only 
I through the whole connected series of his actions. The 
self-conscious connection of these actions is made pos- 
sible by reason, which enables a man constantly to survey 
the whole in the abstract. 

The will, which, considered purely in itself, is without 
knowledge, and is merely a blind incessant impulse, as 
we see it appear in unorganised and vegetable nature 
and their laws, and also in the vegetative part of our 
own life, receives through the addition of the world as 
idea, which is developed in subjection to it, the know- 
ledge of its own williDg and of what it is that it wills. 
And this is nothing else than the world as idea, life, 
[/precisely as it exists. Therefore we called the pheno- 
!/menal world the mirror of the will, its objectivity. 
And since what the will wills is always life, just because 
life is nothing but the representation of that willing 
for the idea, it is all one and a mere pleonism if, 
instead of simply saying " the will," we say " the will to 

Will is the thing - in - itself, the inner content, the 
essence of the world. Life, the visible woild, the 
phenomenon, is only the mirror of the wilL Therefore 
life accompanies the will as inseparably as the shadow 
accompanies the body ; and if will exists, so will life, the 
world, exist. Life is, therefore, assured to the will to 
live ; and so long as we are filled with the will to live we 
need have no fear for our existence, even in the presence 
of death. It is true we see the individual come into 
being and pass away ; but the individual is only pheno- 
menal, exists only for the knowledge which is bound to 
the principle of sufficient reason, to the principio indi- 
viduationis. Certainly, for this kind of knowledge, the 
individual receives his life as a gift, rises out of nothing, 
then suffers the loss of this gift through death, and 
returns again to nothing. But we desire to consider life 


philosophically, i.e., according to its Ideas, and in this 
sphere we shall find that neither the will, the thing- 
in- itself in all phenomena, nor the subject of knowing, 
that which perceives all phenomena, is affected at all by 
birth or by death. Birth and death belong merely to the 
phenomenon of will, thus to life ; and it is essential to 
this to exhibit itself in individuals which come into being 
and pass away, as fleeting phenomena appearing in the 
form of time — phenomena of that which in itself knows 
no time, but must exhibit itself precisely in the way we 
have said, in order to objectify its peculiar nature. Birth 
and death belong in like manner to life, and hold the 
balance as reciprocal conditions of each other, or, if one 
likes the expression, as poles of the whole phenomenon 
of life. The wisest of all mythologies, the Indian, ex- 
presses this by giving to the very god that symbolises 
destruction, death (as Brahma, the most sinful and the 
lowest god of the Trimurti, symbolises generation, coming 
into being, and Vishnu maintaining or preserving), by 
i giving, I say, to Siva as an attribute not only the neck- 
lace of skulls, but also the lingam, the symbol of genera- 
tion, which appears here as the counterpart of death, thus 
signifying that generation and death are essentially cor- 
relatives, which reciprocally neutralise and annul each 
other. It was precisely the same sentiment that led the 
Greeks and Romans to adorn their costly sarcophagi, just 
as we see them now, with feasts, dances, marriages, the 
chase, fights of wild beasts, bacchanalians, &c. ; thus with 
representations of the fuU ardour of life, which they place 
before us not only in such revels and sports, but also in 
sensual groups, and even go so far as to represent the 
sexual intercourse of satyrs and goats. Clearly the aim 
was to point in the most impressive manner away from 
the death of the mourned individual to the immortal life 
of nature, and thus to indicate, though without abstract 
knowledge, that the whole of nature is the phenomenon 
and also the fulfilment of the will to live. The form of 


356 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. it. 

this phenomenon is time, space, and causality, and by 
means of these individuation, which carries with it that 
the individual must come into being and pass away. But 
this no more affects the will to live, of whose manifesta- 
tion the individual is, as it were, only a particular exam- 
ple or specimen, than the death of an individual injures 
~the whole of nature. For it is not the individual, but 
only the species that Nature cares for, and for the preser- 
vation of which she so earnestly strives, providing for it 
with the utmost prodigality through the vast surplus of 
the seed and the great strength of the fructifying im- 
pulse. The individual, on the contrary, neither has nor 
can have any value for Nature, for her kingdom is infi- 
nite time and infinite space, and in these infinite mul- 
tiplicity of possible individuals. Therefore she is always 
ready to let the individual fall, and hence it is not only 
exposed to destruction in a thousand ways by the most 
insignificant accident, but originally destined for it, and 
conducted towards it by Nature herself from the moment 
it has served its end of maintaining the species. Thus 
Nature naively expresses the great truth that only the 
Ideas, not the individuals, have, properly speaking, reality, 
i.e., are complete objectivity of the will. Now, since 
man is Nature itself, and indeed Nature at the highest 
grade of its self-consciousness, but Nature is only the 
objectified will to live, the man who has comprehended 
and retained this point of view may well console himself, 
when contemplating his own death and that of his friends, 
by turning his eyes to the immortal life of Nature, which 
he himself is. This is the significance of Siva with the 
lingam, and of those ancient sarcophagi with their pictures 
of glowing life, which say to the mourning beholder, 
Natura non contristatur. 

That generation and death are to be regarded as some- 
thing belonging to life, and essential to this phenomenon 
of the will, arises also from the fact that they both ex- 
hibit themselves merely as higher powers of the expres- 


sion of that in which all the rest of life consists. This 
is through and through nothing else than the constant 
change of matter in the fixed permanence of form ; and 
this is what constitutes the transitoriness of the indivi- 
dual and the permanence of the species. Constant nour- 
ishment and renewal differ from generation only in degree, 
and constant excretion differs only in degree from death. 
The first shows itself most simply and distinctly in the 
plant. The plant is throughout a constant recurrence of 
the same impulse of its simplest fibre, which groups 
itself into leaf and branch. It is a systematic aggregate 
of similar plants supporting each other, whose constant 
reproduction is its single impulse. It ascends to the full 
satisfaction of this tendency through the grades of its 
metamorphosis, finally to the blossom and fruit, that 
compendium of its existence and effort in which it now 
attains, by a short way, to that which is its single aim, 
and at a stroke produces a thousand-fold what, up till 
then, it effected only in the particular case — the repe- 
tition of itself. Its earlier growth and development 
stands in the same relation to its fruit as writing stands 
to printing. With the animal it is clearly quite the 
same. The process of nourishing is a constant repro- 
duction fthe process" of '"reproduction is a higher power 
of nourishing. The pleasure which accompanies the act 
of procreation is a higher power of the agreeableness of 
the sense of life. On the other hand, excretion, the con- 
stant exhalation and throwing off of matter, is the same 
as that which, at a higher power, death, is the contrary 
of generation. And if here we are always content to 
retain the form without lamenting the discarded matter, 
we ought to bear ourselves in the same way if in death 
the same thing happens, in a higher degree and to the 
whole, as takes place daily and hourly in a partial 
manner in excretion : if we are indifferent to the one, 
we ought not to shrink from the other. | Therefore, from 
this point of view, it appears just as perverse to desire 

35» THE WORLD AS WILL. BK . iv. 

the continuance of an individuality which will be re* 
placed by other individuals as to desire the permanence 
of matter which will be replaced by other matter. It 
appears just as foolish to embalm the body as it would 

;*i>e carefully to preserve its excrement. As to the indi- 
vidual consciousness which is bound to the individual 
body, it is absolutely interrupted every day by sleep. 
Deep sleep is, while it lasts, in no way different from 
death, into which, in fact, it often passes continuously, as 
in the case of freezing to death. It differs only with 
regard to the future, the awaking. Death is a sleep in 
which individuality is forgotten; everything else wakes 

■ again, or rather never slept 1 

Above all things, we must distinctly recognise that 
the form of the phenomenon of will, the form of life or 
reality, is really only the present, not the future nor the 
past. The latter are only in the conception, exist only 
in the connection of knowledge, so far as it follows the 
principle of sufficient reason. No man has ever lived in 
the past, and none will live in the future ; the present 
alone is the form of all life, and is its sure possession 
which can never be taken from it. The present always 
exists, together with its content. Both remain fixed 
without wavering, like the rainbow on the waterfall. 
For life is firm and certain in the will, and the present 
is firm and certain in life. Certainly, if we reflect on 

1 The following remark may assist ourselves in ourselves, and indepen- 

those for whom it is not too subtle dent of the objects of knowledge and 

to understand clearly that the indi- will. Now this is by no means 

vidua! is only the phenomenon, not possible, for as soon as we turn into 

the thing in itself. Every indi- ourselves to make the attempt, and 

vidual is, on the one hand, the seek for once to know ourselves fully 

subject of knowing, i.e., the comple- by means of introspective reflection, 

mental condition of the possibility we are lost in a bottomless void; we 

of the whole objective world, and, find ourselves like the hollow glass 

on the other hand, a particular globe, from out of which a voice 

phenomenon of will, the same will speaks whose cause is not to be 

which objectifies itself in every- found in it, and whereas we desired 

thing. But this double nature of to comprehend ourselves, we find, 

our being does not rest upon a self- with a shudder, nothing but ft 

existing unity, otherwise it would vanishing spectre, 
be possible for us to be conscious of 


the thousands of years that are past, of the millions of 
men who lived in them, we ask, What were they? 
what has become of them ? But, on the other hand, we 
need only recall our own past life and renew its scenes 
vividly in our imagination, and then ask again, What 
was all this ? what has become of it ? As it is with it, 
so is it with the life of those millions. Or should we 
suppose that the past could receive a new existence be- 
cause it has been sealed by death ? Our own past, the 
most recent part of it, and even yesterday, is now no 
more than an empty dream of the fancy, and such is the 
past of all those millions. What was ? What is ? The 
will, of which life is the mirror, and knowledge free from 
will, which beholds it clearly in that mirror. Whoever 
has not yet recognised this, or will not recognise it, must 
add to the question asked above as to the fate of past 
generations of men this question also: Why he, the 
questioner, is so fortunate as to be conscious of this costly, 
fleeting, and only real present, while those hundreds of 
generations of men, even the heroes and philosophers of 
those ages, have sunk into the night of the past, and 
have thus become nothing; but he, his insignificant 
ego, actually exists ? or more shortly, though somewhat 
strangely : Why this now, his now, is just now and was 
not long ago ? Since he asks such strange questions, he 
regards his existence and his time as independent of each 
other, and the former as projected into the latter. He 
assumes indeed two nows — one which belongs to the 
object, the other which belongs to the subject, and 
marvels at the happy accident of their coincidence. But 
in truth, only the point of contact of the object, the form 
of which is time, with the subject, which has no mode of 
the principle of sufficient reason as its form, constitutes 
the present, as is shown in the essay on the principle of 
sufficient reason. Now all object is the will so far as it 
has become idea, and the subject is the necessary cor- 
relative of the object. But real objects are only in the 

360 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

present ; the past and the future contain only conceptions 
and fancies, therefore the present is the essential form 
of the phenomenon of the will, and inseparable from it. 
The present alone is that which always exists and re- 
mains immovable. That which, empirically apprehended, 
is the most transitory of all, presents itself to the meta- 
physical vision, which sees beyond the forms of empirical 
perception, as that which alone endures, the nunc stans 
of the schoolmen. The source and the supporter of 
its content is the will to live or the thing -in -itself, 
— which we are. That which constantly becomes and 
passes away, in that it has either already been or is 
still to be, belongs to the phenomenon as such on 
account of its forms, which make coming into being 
and passing away possible. Accordingly, we must 
think : — Quidfuit ? — Quod est. Quid erit ? — Quod fiiit ; 
and take it in the strict meaning of the words; thus 
understand not simile but idem. For life is certain to 
the will, and the present is certain to life. Thus it 
is that every one can say, " I am once for all lord of 
the present, and through all eternity it will accompany 
me as my shadow : therefore I do not wonder where it 
has come from, and how it happens that it is exactly 
now." We might compare time to a constantly re- 
volving sphere ; the half that was always sinking would 
be the past, that which was always rising would be the 
future ; but the indivisible point at the top, where the 
tangent touches, would be the extensionless present. 
As the tangent does not revolve with the sphere, neither 
does the present, the point of contact of the object, the 
form of which is time, with the subject, which lias no 
form, because it does not belong to the knowable, but 
is the condition of all that is knowable. Or, time is 
like an unceasing stream, and the present a rock on 
which the stream breaks itself, but does not carry 
away with it. The will, as thing-in-itself, is just as 
little subordinate to the principle of sufficient reason 


as the subject of knowledge, which, finally, in a certain 
regard is the will itself or its expression. And as life, 
its own phenomenon, is assured to the will, so is the 
present, the single form of real life. Therefore we 
have not to investigate the past before life, nor the 
future after death : we have rather to know the present, 
the one form in which the will manifests itself. 1 It 
will not escape from the will, but neither will the wilL 
escape from it. If, therefore, life as it is satisfies, I 
whoever affirms it in every way may regard it with 
confidence as endless, and banish the fear of death as 
an illusion that inspires him with the foolish dread that 
he can ever be robbed of the present, and foreshadows 
a time in which there is no present ; an illusion with 
regard to time analogous to the illusion with regard to 
space through which every one imagines the position on 
the globe he happens to occupy as above, and all other 
places as below. In the same way every one links the 
present to his own individuality, and imagines that all 
present is extinguished with it; that then past and 
future might be without a present. But as on the sur- 
face of the globe every place is above, so the form of all 
life is the present, and to fear death because it robs us of 
the present, is just as foolish as to fear that we may slip 
down from the round globe upon which we have now the 
good fortune to occupy the upper surface. The present is 
the form essential to the objectification of the will. It 
cuts time, which extends infinitely in both directions, as~ 
a mathematical point, and stands immovably fixed, like 
an everlasting mid-day with no cool evening, as the 
actual sun burns without intermission, while it only 
seems to sink into the bosom of night. Therefore, if 
a man fears death as his annihilation, it is just as if he 
were to think that the sun cries out at evening, " Woe is 

1 " Scholastici docuerunt, quod quod erat Nunc Adaino, i.e., inter 

tttcrnitaa non sit temporis sine fine nunc et tunc nullam esse differen- 

aut principio successio ; sed Nunc tiam." — Hobbes, Leviathan, 0. 46. 
ttam. i.e., idem nobis Nunc esse. 


3^2 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

me ! for I go down into eternal night." * And conversely, 
whoever is oppressed with the burden of life, whoever 
desires life and affirms it, but abhors its torments, and 
especially can no longer endure the hard lot that has 
fallen to himself, such a man has no deliverance to hope 
for from death, and cannot right himself by suicide. The 
cool shades of Orcus allure him only with the false appear- 
ance of a haven of rest. The earth rolls from day into 
night, the individual dies, but the sun itself shines with- 
out intermission, an eternal noon. Life is assured to the 
will to live ; the form of life is an endless present, no 
matter how the individuals, the phenomena of the Idea, 
arise and pass away in time, like fleeting dreams. Thus 
even already suicide appears to us as a vain and therefore 
a foolish action ; when we have carried our investigation 
further it will appear to us in a still less favourable light 
Dogmas change and our knowledge is deceptive ; but 
Nature never errs, her procedure is sure, and she nevei 
conceals it. Everything is entirely in Nature, and Nature 
is entire in everything. She has her centre in every 
brute. It has surely found its way into existence, and 
it will surely find its way out of it. In the meantime it 
lives, fearless and without care, in the presence of annihi- 
lation, supported by the consciousness that it is Nature 
herself, and imperishable as she is. Man alone carries 
about with him, in abstract conceptions, the certainty of 
his death; yet this can only trouble him very rarely, 

1 In Eckermann's " Conversations passage, for it occurs in the first 

of Goethe" (vol. i. p. 161), Goethe edition, p. 401, in exactly the same 

says : " Our spirit is a being of a words, and it is also repeated at 

nature quite indestructible, and its p. 528 of that edition, as at the 

activity continues from eternity to close of § 65 of the present work, 

eternity. It is like the sun, which The first edition was sent to him in 

seems to set only to our earthly December 1818, and in March 1819, 

eyes, but which, in reality, never when I was at Naples, he sent me 

sets, but shines on unceasingly." his congratulations by letter, through 

Goethe has taken the simile from my sister, and enclosed a piece of 

me ; not I from him. Without paper upon which he had noted the 

doubt he used it in this conversa- places of certain passages which had 

tion, which was held in 1824, in specially pleased him. Thus he had 

consequence of a (possibly uncon- read my book. 
•cious) reminiscence of the above 


when for a single moment some occasion calls it up to his 
imagination. Against the mighty voice of Nature reflec- 
tion can do little. In man, as in the brute which does 
not think, the certainty that springs from his inmost con- 
sciousness that he himself is Nature, the world, predomi- 
nates as a lasting frame of mind ; and on account of this 
no man is observably disturbed by the thought of certain 
and never- distant death, but lives as if he would live for 
ever. Indeed this is carried so far that we may say that 
no one has really a lively conviction of the certainty of 
his death, otherwise there would be no great difference 
between his frame of mind and that of a condemned cri- 
minal. Every one recognises that certainty in the abstract 
and theoretically, but lays it aside like other theoretical 
truths which are not applicable to practice, without really 
receiving it into his living consciousness. Whoever care- 
fully considers this peculiarity of human character will 
see that the psychological explanations of it, from habit 
and acquiescence in the inevitable, are by no means suffi- 
cient, and that its true explanation lies in the deeper 
ground we have given. The same fact explains the cir- 
cumstance that at all times and among all peoples dog- 
mas of some kind or other relating to the continued 
existence of the individual after death arise, and are 
believed in, although the evidence in support of them must 
always be very insufficient, and the evidence against them 
forcible and varied. But, in truth, this really requires 
no proof, but is recognised by the healthy understanding 
as a fact, and confirmed by the confidence that Nature 
never lies any more than she errs, but openly exhibits 
and naively expresses her action and her nature, while 
only we ourselves obscure it by our folly, in order to 
establish what is agreeable to our limited point of view. 

But this that we have brought to clearest conscious- 
ness, that although the particular phenomenon of the will 
has a temporal beginning and end, the will itself as thing- 
in-itself is not affected by it, nor yet the correlative of 

364 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv 

all object, the knowing but never known subject, and 
"that life is always assured to the will to live — this is not 
to be numbered with the doctrines of immortality. For 
permanence has no more to do with the will or with the 
pure subject of knowing, the eternal eye of the world, 
than transitoriness, for both are predicates that are only 
valid in time, and the will and the pure subject of know- 
ing lie outside time. Therefore the egoism of the in- 
dividual (this particular phenomenon of will enlightened 
by the subject of knowing) can extract as little nourish- 
ment and consolation for his wish to endure through 
endless time from the view we have expressed, as he 
could from the knowledge that after his death the rest 
of the eternal world would continue to exist, which is 
just the expression of the same view considered objec- 
tively, and therefore temporally. For every individual is 
transitory only as phenomenon, but as thing-in-itself is 
timeless, and therefore endless. But it is also only as 
phenomenon that an individual is distinguished from the 
other things of the world; as thing-in-itself he is the 
will which appears in all, and death destroys the illusion 
which separates his consciousness from that of the 
rest: this is immortality. His exemption from death, 
which belongs to him only as thing-in-itself, is for 
the phenomenon one with the immortality of the rest 
of the external world. 1 Hence also, it arises that 
although the inward and merely felt consciousness of that 
which we have raised to distinct knowledge is indeed, as 
we have said, sufficient to prevent the thought of death 
from poisoning the life of the rational being, because 
this consciousness is the basis of that love of life which 
maintains everything living, and enables it to live on 

1 This is expressed in the Veda also by the fact that, in a special 

by saying, that when a man dies his ceremony, the dying man gives over 

sight becomes one with the sun, his his senses and all his faculties singly 

smell with the earth, his taste with to his son, in whom they are now 

water, his hearing with the air, his supposed to live on (Oupnek'hat, 

speech with fire, &c, &c. (Oupnek'- vol. ii. p. 82 et aeq.) 
hat, vul. i. p. 249 it seq.) And 


at ease as if there were no such thing as death, so 
long as it is face to face with life, and turns its 
attention to it, yet it will not prevent the individual 
from being seized with the fear of death, and trying 
in every way to escape from it, when it presents itself 
to him in some particular real case, or even only in 
his imagination, and he is compelled to contemplate it 
For just as, so long as his knowledge was directed 
to life as such, he was obliged to recognise immortality 
in it, so when death is brought before his eyes, he is 
obliged to recognise it as that which it is, the temporal 
end of the particular temporal phenomenon. What we 
fear in death is by no means the pain, for it lies clearly 
on this side of death, and, moreover, we often take refuge 
in death from pain, just as, on the contrary, we sometimes 
endure the most fearful suffering merely to escape death 
for a while, although it would be quick and easy. Thus 
we distinguish pain and death as two entirely different 
evils. What we fear in death is the end of the indivi- 
dual, which it openly professes itself to be, and since the 
individual is a particular objectification of the will to 
live itself, its whole nature struggles against death. Now 
when feeling thus exposes us helpless, reason can yet 
step in and for the most part overcome its adverse influ- 
ence, for it places us upon a higher standpoint, from 
which we no longer contemplate the particular but the 
whole. Therefore a philosophical knowledge of the nature 
of the world, which extended to the point we have now 
reached in this work but went no farther, could even at 
this point of view overcome the terror of death in the 
measure in which reflection had power over direct feeling 
in the given individual. A man who had thoroughly 
assimilated the truths we have already advanced, but had 
not come to know, either from his own experience or 
from a deeper insight, that constant suffering is essential 
to lif e, who found satisfaction and all that he wished in 
life, and could calmly and deliberately desire that his 

366 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

life, as he had hitherto known it, should endure for ever 
or repeat itself ever anew, and whose love of life was so 
great that he willingly and gladly accepted all the hard- 
ships and miseries to which it is exposed for the sake of 
its pleasures, — such a man would stand " with firm-knit 
bones on the well-rounded, enduring earth," and would 
have nothing to fear. Armed with the knowledge we 
have given him, he would await with indifference the 
death that hastens towards him on the wings of time. 
He would regard it as a false illusion, an impotent spectre, 
which frightens the weak but has no power over him 
who knows that he is himself the will of which the whole 
world is the objectification or copy, and that therefore he 
: is always certain of life, and also of the present, the 
peculiar and only form of the phenomenon of the wilL 
He could not be terrified by an endless past or future in 
which he would not be, for this he would regard as the 
empty delusion of the web of Maya. Thus he would no 
more fear death than the sun fears the night. In the 
"Bhagavad-Gita" Krishna thus raises the mind of his young 
pupil Arjuna, when, seized with compunction at the sight 
of the arrayed hosts (somewhat as Xerxes was), he loses 
heart and desires to give up the battle in order to avert 
the death of so many thousands. Krishna leads him to 
this point of view, and the death of those thousands can 
no longer restrain him ; he gives the sign for battle. This 
point of view is also expressed by Goethe's Prometheus, 
especially when he says — 

" Here sit I, form mankind 
In my own image, 
A race like to myself, 
To suffer and to weep, 
Rejoice, enjoy, 
And heed thee not, 
As I." 

The philosophy of Bruno and that of Spinoza might also 
lead any one to this point of view whose conviction was 


not shaken and weakened by their errors and imperfec- 
tions. That of Bruno has properly no ethical theory at 
all, and the theory contained in the philosophy of Spinoza 
does not really proceed from the inner nature of his doc- 
trine, but is merely tacked on to it by means of weak and 
palpable sophisms, though in itself it is praiseworthy and 
beautiful Finally, there are many men who would occupy 
this point of view if their knowledge kept pace with 
their will, i.e., if, free from all illusion, they were in 
a position to become clearly and distinctly themselves. 
For this is, for knowledge, the point of view of the com- 
plete assertion of the will to live. J 

That the will asserts itself means, that while in its 
objectivity, ie., in the world and life, its own nature is 
completely and distinctly given it as idea, this knowledge 
does not by any means check its volition ; but this very 
life, so known, is willed as such by the will with know- 
ledge, consciously and deliberately, just as up to this 
point it willed it as blind effort without knowledge. The 
opposite of this, the denial of the will to live, shows itself 
if, when that knowledge is attained, volition ends, because 
the particular known phenomena no longer act as motives 
for willing, but the whole knowledge of the nature of the 
world, the mirror of the will, which has grown up through 
the comprehension of the Ideas, becomes a quieter of the 
will ; and thus free, the will suppresses itsej.i j These quite 
unfamiliar conceptions are difficult to understand when 
expressed in this general way, but it is hoped they will 
become clear through the exposition we shall give pre- 
sently, with special reference to action, of the phenomena 
in which, on the one hand, the assertion in its different 
grades, and, on the other hand, the denial, expresses itself. 
For both proceed from knowledge, yet not from abstract 
knowledge, which is expressed in words, but from living 
knowledge, which is expressed in action and behaviour 
alone, and is independent of the dogmas which at the 
same time occupy the reason as abstract knowledge. To J* 

368 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

exhibit them both, and brin^ them to distinct knowledge 
of the reason, can alone be my aim, and not to prescribe 
or recommend the one or the other, which would be as 
foolish as it would be useless ; for the will in itself is 
absolutely free and entirely self-determining, and for it 
there is no law. But before we go on to the exposition 
referred to, we must first explain and more exactly define 
this freedom and its relation to necessity. And also, with 
regard to the life, the assertion and denial of which is 
our problem, we must insert a few general remarks con- 
nected with the will and its objects. Through all this 
we shall facilitate the apprehension of the inmost nature 
of the knowledge we are aiming at, of the ethical signifi- 
cance of methods of action. 

Since, as has been said, this whole work is only the 
unfolding of a single thought, it follows that all its parts 
have the most intimate connection with each other. Not 
merely that each part stands in a necessary relation to 
what immediately precedes it, and only presupposes a 
recollection of that by the reader, as is the case with all 
philosophies which consist merely of a series of inferences, 
but that every part of the whole work is related to every 
other part and presupposes it. It is, therefore, necessary 
that the reader should remember not only what has just 
been said, but all the earlier parts of the work, so that 
he may be able to connect them with what he is reading, 
however much may have intervened. Plato also makes 
this demand upon his readers through the intricate digres- 
sions of his dialogues, in which he only returns to the 
leading thought after long episodes, which illustrate and 
explain it In our case this demand is necessary; for 
the breaking up of our one single thought into its many 
aspects is indeed the only means of imparting it, though 
not essential to the thought itself, but merely an artificial 
form. The division of four principal points of view into 
four books, and the most careful bringing together of all 
that is related and homogeneous, assists the exposition 


and its comprehension ; yet the material absolutely does 
not admit of an advance in a straight line, such as the 
progress of history, but necessitates a more complicated 
exposition. This again makes a repeated study of the 
book necessary, for thus alone does the connection of all 
the parts with each other become distinct, and only then 
do they all mutually throw light upon each other and 
become quite clear. 1 

§ 5 5. That the will as such is free, follows from the g V 
fact that, according to our view, it is the thing-in-itself, 
the content of all phenomena. The phenomena, on the 
other hand, we recognise as absolutely subordinate to 
the principle of sufficient reason in its four forms. 
And since we know that necessity is throughout iden- 
tical with following from given grounds, and that these 
are convertible conceptions, all that belongs to the 
phenomenon, i.e., all that is object for the knowing 
subject as individual, is in one aspect reason, and in 
another aspect consequent; and in this last capacity is 
determined with absolute necessity, and can, therefore, in 
no respect be other than it is. The whole content of 
Nature, the collective sum of its phenomena, is thus 
throughout necessary, and the necessity of every part, 
of every phenomenon, of every event, can always be 
proved, because it must be possible to find the reason 
from which it follows as a consequent. This admits 
of no exception: it follows from the unrestricted vali- 
dity of the principle of sufficient reason. In another 
aspect, however, the same world is for us, in all its 
phenomena, objectivity of will. And the will, since it 
is not phenomenon, is not idea or object, but thing-in- 
itself, and is not subordinate to the principle of suffi- 
cient reason, the form of all object ; thus is not deter- 
mined as a consequent through any reason, knows no 
necessity, i.e., is free. The concept of freedom is thus 

1 Cf. Chap. xli.-xliv. of Supplement. 
VOL. I. 2 A 

J70 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

properly a negative concept, for its content is merely 
the denial of necessity, i.e., the relation of consequent 
to its reason, according to the principle of sufficient 
reason. Now here lies before us in its most distinct 
form the solution of that great contradiction, the union 
of freedom with necessity, which has so often been 
discussed in recent times, yet, so far as I know, never 
clearly and adequately. Everything is as phenomenon, 
as object, absolutely necessary : in itself it is will, which 
is perfectly free to all eternity. The phenomenon, the 
object, is necessarily and unalterably determined in that 
chain of causes and effects which admits of no inter- 
ruption. But the existence in general of this object, 
and its specific nature, i.e., the Idea which reveals 
itself in it, or, in other words, its character, is a direct 
manifestation of wilL Thus, in conformity with the 
freedom of this will, the object might not be at all, or 
it might be originally and essentially something quite 
different from what it is, in which case, however, the 
whole chain of which it is a link, and which is itself a 
manifestation of the same will, would be quite different 
also. But once there and existing, it has entered the 
chain of causes and effects, is always necessarily 
determined in it, and can, therefore, neither become some- 
thing else, i.e., change itself, nor yet escape from the 
chain, i.e. y vanish. Man, like every other part of Nature, 
is objectivity of the will ; therefore all that has been said 
holds good of him. As everything in Nature has its 
forces and qualities, which react in a definite way when 
definitely affected, and constitute its character, man also 
has his character, from which the motives call forth his 
actions with necessity. In this manner of conduct his 
empirical character reveals itself, but in this again his 
intelligible character, the will in itself, whose determined 
phenomenon he is. But man is the most complete pheno- 
menon of will, and, as we explained in the Second Book, he 
had to be enlightened with so high a degree of knowledge 



in order to maintain himself in existence, that in it a per- 
fectly adequate copy or repetition of the nature of the world 
under the form of the idea became possible : this is the com- 
prehension of the Ideas, the pure mirror of the world, as we 
earnt in the Third Book. Thus in man the will can attain 
to full self-consciousness, to distinct and exhaustive know- 
ledge of its own nature, as it mirrors itself in the whole world. 
We saw in the preceding book that art springs from the 
actual presence of this degree of knowledge ; and at the 
end of our whole work it will further appear that, through 
the same knowledge, in that the will relates it to itself, a 
suppression and self-denial of the will in its most perfect ( 
manifestation is possible. So that the freedom which 
otherwise, as belonging to the thing-in-itself, can never 
show itself in the phenomenon, in such a case does also 
appear in it, and, by abolishing the nature which lies at 
the foundation of the phenomenon, while the latter itself 
still continues to exist in time, it brings about a contra- 
diction of the phenomenon with itself, and in this way 
exhibits the phenomena of holiness and self-renuncia- 
tion. But all this can only be fully understood at 
the end of this book. What has just been said 
merely affords a preliminary and general indication of 
how man is distinguished from all the other phenomena 
of will by the fact that freedom, i.e., independence of 
the principle of sufficient reason, which only belongs 
to the will as thing-in-itself, and contradicts the 
phenomenon, may yet possibly, in his case, appear in the 
phenomenon also, where, however, it necessarily exhibits 
itself as a contradiction of the phenomenon with itself. 
In this sense, not only the will in itself, but man also 
may certainly be called free, and thus distinguished from 
all other beings. But how this is to be understood can 
only become clear through all that is to follow, and for 
the present we must turn away from it altogether. For, 
in the first place, we must beware of the error that the 
action of the individual definite man is subject to no 

372 THE WORLD AS WILL. n K . iv 

necessity, i.e., that the power of the. motive is less certain 
than the power of the cause, or the following of the con- 
clusion from the premises. The freedom of the will as 
thing-in-itself, if, as has been said, we abstract from the 
entirely exceptional case mentioned above, by no means 
extends directly to its phenomenon, not even in the case 
in which this reaches the highest ^rade of its visibility, 
and thus does not extend to the rational animal endowed 
with individual character, i.e., the person. The person is 
never free although he is the phenomenon of a free will ; 
for he is already the determined phenomenon of the free 
volition of this will, and, because he enters the form of 
every object, the principle of sufficient reason, he develops 
indeed the unity of that will in a multiplicity of actions, 
but on account of the timeless unity of that volition in 
itself, this multiplicity exhibits in itself the regular con- 
formity to law of a force of Nature. Since, however, it is 
that free volition that becomes visible in the person and 
the whole of his conduct, relating itself to him as the 
concept to the definition, every individual action of the 
person is to be ascribed to the free will, and directly pro- 
claims itself as such in consciousness. Therefore, as was 
said in the Second Book, every one regards himself a 
priori (i.e., here in this original feeling) as free in his 
individual actions, in the sense that in every given case 
every action is possible for him, and he only recognises 
a posteriori from experience and reflection upon experi- 
ence that his actions take place with absolute necessity 
from the coincidence of his character with his motives. 
Hence it arises that every uncultured man, following his 
feeling, ardently defends complete freedom in particular 
actions, while the great thinkers of all ages, and indeed 
the more profound systems of religion, have denied it 
But whoever has come to see clearly that the whole 
nature of man is will, and he himself only a phenomenon 
of this will, and that such a phenomenon has, even from 
the subject itself, the principle of sufficient reason as its 


necessary form, which here appears as the law of motiva- 
tion, — such a man will regard it as just as absurd to 
doubt the inevitable nature of an action when the motive 
is presented to a given character, as to doubt that the 
three angles of any triangle are together equal to two 
right angles. Priestley has very sufficiently proved the 
necessity of the individual action in his "Doctrine of 
Philosophical Necessity ; " but Kant, whose merit in this 
respect is specially great, first proved the coexistence 
of this necessity with the freedom of the will in itself, 
i.e., apart from the phenomenon, 1 by establishing the dis- 
tinction between the intelligible and the empirical character. 
I entirely adhere to this distinction, for the former is the 
will as thing-in-itself so far as it appears in a definite indi- 
vidual in a definite grade, and the latter is this phenomenon 
itself as it exhibits itself in time in the mode of action, and 
in space in the physical structure. In order to make the 
relation of the two comprehensible, the best expression is 
that which I have already used in the introductory essay, 
that the intelligible character of every man is to be re- 
garded as an act of will outside time, and therefore 
indivisible and unchangeable, and the manifestation of 
this act of will developed and broken up in time and 
space and all the forms of the principle of sufficient 
reason is the empirical character as it exhibits itself for 
experience in the whole conduct and life of this man. 
As the whole tree is only the constantly repeated mani- 
festation of one and the same tendency, which exhibits 
itself in its simplest form in the fibre, and recurs and is 
easily recognised in the construction of the leaf, shoot, 
branch, and trunk, so all a man's deeds are merely the 
constantly repeated expression, somewhat varied in form, 
of his intelligible character, and the induction based on 
the sum of all these expressions gives us his empirical 

] " Critique of Pure Reason," first tical Reason," fourth edition, pp. 
edition, pp. 532-558; fifth edition, 169-179; Rosenkranz's edition, pp. 
pp. 560-586 ; and " Critique of Prac- 224-231. 



374 THE WOflLD ^5 W/LL. bk. iv. 

character. For the rest, I shall not at this point repeat 
in my own words Kant's masterly exposition, but pre- 
suppose it as known. 

In the year 1840 I dealt with the important chapter 
on the freedom of the will, thoroughly and in detail, in 
my crowned prize-essay upon the subject, and exposed 
the reason of the delusion which led men to imagine that 
they found an empirically given absolute freedom of the 
will, that is to say, a liberum arhitrium indiffcrentioe, as a 
fact in self-consciousness; for the question propounded 
for the essay was with great insight directed to this 
point Therefore, as I refer the reader to that work, 
and also to the tenth paragraph of the prize-essay on 
the basis of morals, which was published along with it 
under the title "The Two Fundamental Problems of 
Ethics," I now omit the incomplete exposition of the 
necessity of the act of will, which was given at this place 
in the first edition. Instead of it I shall explain the 
delusion mentioned above in a brief discussion which is 
presupposed in the nineteenth chapter of the supple- 
ment to the present work, and therefore could not be 
_,given in the prize-essay referred to. 

Apart from the fact that the will as the true thing-in- 
itself is actually original and independent, and that the 
feeling of its originality and absoluteness must accompany 
its acts in self-consciousness, though here they are already 
determined, there arises the illusion of an empirical free- 
dom of the will (instead of the transcendental freedom 
which alone is to be attributed to it), and thus a freedom 
6"f Its particular actions, from that attitude of the intellect 
towards the will which is explained, separated, and sub- 
ordinated in the nineteenth chapter of the supplement, 
especially under No. 3. The intellect knows the con- 
clusions of the will only a 'posteriori and empirically; 
therefore when a choice is presented, it has no data as to 
how the will is to decide. For the intelligible character, 
by virtue of which, when motives are given, only oiu 


decision is possible and is therefore necessary, does not 
come within the knowledge of the intellect, but merely 
the empirical character is known to it through the suc- 
cession of its particular acts. Therefore it seems to the 
intellect that in a given case two opposite decisions are 
possible for the will But this is just the same thing 
as if we were to say of a perpendicular beam that 
has lost its balance, and is hesitating which way to 
fall, " It can fall either to the right hand or the left." 
This can has merely a subjective significance, and really 
means "as far as the data known to us are concerned." 
Objectively, the direction of the fall is necessarily deter- 
mined as soon as the equilibrium is lost. Accordingly, 
the decision of one's own will is undetermined only to 
the beholder, one's own intellect, and thus merely rela- 
tively and subjectively for the subject of knowing. In 
itself and objectively, on the other hand, in every choice 
presented to it, its decision is at once determined and 
necessary. But this determination only comes into con- 
sciousness through the decision that follows upon it. 
Indeed, we receive an empirical proof of this when any 
difficult and important choice lies before us, but only 
under a condition which is not yet present, but merely 
hoped for, so that in the meanwhile we can do nothing, 
but must remain passive. Now we consider how we shall 
decide when the circumstances occur that will give us 
a free activity and choice. Generally the foresight of 
rational deliberation recommends one decision, while direct 
inclination leans rather to the other. So long as we are 
compelled to remain passive, the side of reason seems to 
wish to keep the upperhand ; but we see beforehand how 
strongly the other side will influence us when the oppor- 
tunity for action arises. Till then we are eagerly con- 
cerned to place the motives on both sides in the clearest 
light, by calm meditation on the pro et contra, so that 
every motive may exert its full influence upon the will 
when the time arrives, and it may not be misled by a 

376 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

mistake on the part of the intellect to decide otherwise 
than it would have done if all the motives had their due 
influence upon it. But this distinct unfolding of the mo- 
tives on both sides is all that the intellect can do to assist 
the choice. It awaits the real decision just as passively and 
with the same inteuse curiosity as if it were that of a 
foreign will. Therefore from its point of view both deci- 
sions must seem to it equally possible ; and this is just 
the illusion of the empirical freedom of the will. Cer- 
tainly the decision enters the sphere of the intellect alto- 
gether empirically, as the final conclusion of the matter; 
but yet it proceeded from the inner nature, the intelli- 
gible character, of the individual will in its conflict with 
given motives, and therefore with complete necessity. 
The intellect can do nothing more than bring out clearly 
and fully the nature of the motives ; it cannot determine 
the will itself ; for the will is quite inaccessible to it, and, 
as we have seen, cannot be investigated. 

If, under the same circumstances, a man could act now 
one way and now another, it would be necessary that 
his will itself should have changed in the meantime, and 
thus that it should lie in time, for change is only possible 
in time; but then either the will would be a mere 
phenomenon, or time would be a condition of the thing- 
in-itself. Accordingly the dispute as to the freedom of 
the particular action, the liberum arbitrium indifferentue, 
really turns on the question whether the will lies in time 
or not. If, as both Kant's doctrine and the whole of my 
system necessitates, the will is the thing-in-itself outside 
time and outside every form of the principle of sufficient 
reason, not only must the individual act in the same way 
in the same circumstances, and not only must eveiy bad 
action be the sure warrant of innumerable others, which 
the individual must perform and cannot leave, but, as Kant 
said, if only the empirical character and the motives were 
completely given, it would be possible to calculate the 
future conduct of a man just as we can calculate an 


eclipse of the sun or moon. As Nature is consistent, so 
is the character ; every action must take place in accord- 
ance with it, just as every phenomenon takes place ac- 
cording to a law of Nature : the causes in the latter case 
and the motives in the former are merely the occasional 
causes, as was shown in the Second Book. The will, 
whose phenomenon is the whole being and life of man, 
cannot deny itself in the particular case, and what the 
man wills on the whole, that will he also will in the 
particular case. 

The assertion of an empirical freedom of the will, a 
liberum arbitrium indiffer entice, agrees precisely with the 
doctrine that places the inner nature of man in a soul, 
which is originally a knowing, and indeed really an 
abstract thinking nature, and only in consequence of this 
a willing nature — a doctrine which thus regards the 
will as of a secondary or derivative nature, instead of 
knowledge which is really so. The will indeed came to 
be regarded as an act of thought, and to be identified 
with the judgment, especially by Descartes and Spinoza. 
According to this doctrine every man must become 
what he is only through his knowledge ; he must enter 
the world as a moral cipher come to know the things in 
it, and thereupon determine to be this or that, to act 
thus or thus, and may also through new knowledge 
achieve a new course of action, that is to say, become 
another person. Further, he must first know a thing 
to be good, and in consequence of this will it, instead of 
first willing it, and in consequence of this calling it good. 
According to my fundamental point of view, all this is a 
reversal of the true relation. Will is first and original ; 
knowledge is merely added to it as an instrument be- 
longing to the phenomenon of will. Therefore every 
man is what he is through his will, and his character is 
original, for willing is the basis of his nature. Through 
the knowledge which is added to it he comes to know in 
the course of experience what he is, i.e., he learns his 

378 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

character. Thus he knows himself in consequence of and 
in accordance with the nature of his will, instead of 
willing in consequence of and in accordance with his 
knowing. According to the latter view, he would only 
require to consider how he would like best to be, and he 
would be it ; that is its doctrine of the freedom of the 
will. Thus it consists really in this, that a man is his 
own work guided by the light of knowledge. I, on the 
contrary, say that he is his own work before all know- 
ledge, and knowledge is merely added to it to enlighten 
it. Therefore he cannot resolve to be this or that, nor 
can he become other than he is ; but he is once for all, 
and he knows in the course of experience what he is. 
According to one doctrine he wills what he knows, and 
according to the other he knows what he wills. 

The Greeks called the character rjdo?, and its expres- 
sion, i.e., morals, tjOtj. But this word comes from edo?, 
custom ; they chose it in order to express metaphorically 
the constancy of character through the constancy of 
custom. To yap n6os airo rov edov? €%€(, ttjv eirwvvfiiav. 
rfditcr) yap KaXenai Bca to eOi^eaOai (a voce rjdos, i.e., con- 
suetudo ndos est appellatum : ethica ergo dicta est airo rov 
eOi&aOai, sivi ah assuescendo) says Aristotle (Eth. Magna, 
i. 6, p. 1 186, and Eth. Eud., p. 1220, and Eth. Nic,, p. 
1 103, ed. Ber.) Stobaeus quotes: ol Be Kara Zrjvcova 
rpo-rntccor rjOo? eart, 77-17777 fiiov a<f> 779 al Kara fiepos 
Trpageis peovai (Stoici autem, Zenonis castra sequentes, meta- 
pJwrice ethos definiunt vitce fontem, e quo singvlm manant 
actiones), ii. ch. 7. In Christian theology we find the 
dogma of predestination in consequence of election and 
non-election (Rom. ix. 1 1-24), clearly originating from 
the knowledge that man does not change himself, but 
his life and conduct, i.e. t his empirical character, is only 
the unfolding of his intelligible character, the develop- 
ment of decided and unchangeable natural dispositions 
recognisable even in the child; therefore, as it were, 
even at his birth his conduct is firmly determined, and 


remains essentially the same to the end. This we 
entirely agree with; but certainly the consequences 
which followed from the union of this perfectly correct 
insight with the dogmas that already existed in Jewish 
theology, and which now gave rise to the great difficulty, 
the Gordian knot upon which most of the controversies 
of the Church turned, I do not undertake to defend, for 
even the Apostle Paul scarcely succeeded in doing so 
by means of his simile of the potter's vessels which he 
invented for the purpose, for the result he finally arrived 
at was nothing else than this : — 

" Let mankind 
Fear the gods ! 
They hold the power 
In everlasting hands : 
And they can nse it 
As seems good to them." 

Such considerations, however, are really foreign to our 
subject. Some explanation as to the relation between 
the character and the knowledge in which all its motives 
lie, will now be more to the point. 

The motives which determine the manifestation of 
the character or conduct influence it through the medium 
of knowledge. But knowledge is changeable, and often 
vacillates between truth and error, yet, as a rule, is rectified 
more and more in the course of life, though certainly in 
very different degrees. Therefore the conduct of a man 
may be observably altered without justifying us in con- 
cluding that his character has been changed. What the 
man really and in general wills, the striving of his inmost 
nature, and the end he pursues in accordance with it, 
this we can never change by influence upon him from 
without by instruction, otherwise we could transform 
him. Seneca says admirably, velle non discitur ; whereby 
he preferred truth to his Stoic philosophers, who taught 
h&aKTi)v eivai rrjv aperrjv (doceri posse virtutem). From 
without the will can only be affected by motives. But 



these can never change the will itself; for they have power 
over it only under the presupposition that it is precisely 
such as it is. All that they can do is thus to alter the 
direction of its effort, i.e., bring it about that it shall seek 
in another way than it has hitherto done that which it 
invariably seeks. Therefore instruction, improved know- 
ledge, in other words, influence from without, may indeed 
teach the will that it erred in the means it employed, 
and can therefore bring it about that the end after 
which it strives once for all according to its inner nature 
shall be pursued on an entirely different path and in 
an entirely different object from what has hitherto 
been the case. But it can never bring about that the 
will shall will something actually different from what it 
has hitherto willed ; this remains unchangeable, for the 
will is simply this willing itself, which would have to 
be abolished. The former, however, the possible modi- 
fication of knowledge, and through knowledge of conduct, 
extends so far that the will seeks to attain its unalter- 
able end, for example, Mohammed's paradise, at one time 
in the real world, at another time in a world of imagina- 
tion, adapting the means to each, and thus in the°first 
case applying prudence, might, and fraud, and in the 
second case, abstinence, justice, alms, and pilgrimages to 
Mecca But its effort itself has not therefore changed, 
still less the will itself. Thus, although its action cer- 
tainly shows itself very different at different times, its 
willing has yet remained precisely the same. Telle non 

For motives to act, it is necessary not only that they 
should be present, but that they should be known ; for, 
according to a very good expression of the schoolmen, 
which we referred to once before, causa Jmalis movet non 
secundum suum esse reale; sed secundum esse cognitum. 
For example, in order that the relation may appear 
that exists in a given man between egoism and sym- 
pathy, it is not sufficient that he should possess wealth 


and see others in want, but he must also know what 
he can do with his wealth, both for himself and for 
others: not only must the suffering of others be pre- 
sented to him, but he must know both what suffering 
and also what pleasure is. Perhaps, on a first occasion, 
he did not know all this so well as on a second ; and 
if, on a similar occasion, he acts differently, this arises 
simply from the fact that the circumstances were really 
different, as regards the part of them that depends on 
his knowing them, although they seem to be the same. 
As ignorance of actually existing circumstances robs 
them of their influence, so, on the other hand, entirely 
imaginary circumstances may act as if they were real, 
not only in the case of a particular deception, but also 
in general and continuously. For example, if a man 
is firmly persuaded that every good action will be 
repaid him a hundredfold in a future life, such a con- 
viction affects him in precisely the same way as a 
good bill of exchange at a very long date, and he can 
give from mere egoism, as from another point of view 
he would take from egoism. He has not changed 
himself: velle non discitur. It is on account of this 
great influence of knowledge upon action, while the 
will remains unchangeable, that the character develops 
and its different features appear only little by little. 
Therefore it shows itself different at every period of 
life, and an impetuous, wild youth may be succeeded 
by a staid, sober, manly age. Especially what is bad 
in the character will always come out more strongly 
with time, yet sometimes it occurs that passions which 
a man gave way to in his youth are afterwards volun- 
tarily restrained, simply because the motives opposed 
to them have only then come into knowledge. Hence, 
also, we are all innocent to begin with, and this merely 
means that neither we nor others know the evil of our 
own nature ; it only appears with the motives, and 
only in time do the motives appear in knowledge. 

382 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

Finally we come to know ourselves as quite different 
from what a priori we supposed ourselves to be, and 
then we are often terrified at ourselves. 

Kepentance never proceeds from a change of the will 
(which is impossible), but from a change of knowledge. 
The essential and peculiar in what I have always willed 
I must still continue to will ; for I myself am this will 
which lies outside time and change. I can therefore 
never repent of what I have willed, though I can re- 
pent of what I have done; because, led by false con- 
ceptions, I did something that was not in conformity 
with my will. The discovery of this through fuller 
knowledge is repentance. This extends not merely to 
worldly wisdom, to the choice of the means, and the 
judgment of the appropriateness of the end to my own 
will, but also to what is properly ethical. For example, 
I may have acted more egotistically than is in accordance 
with my character, led astray by exaggerated ideas of 
the need in which I myself stood, or of the craft, false- 
ness, and wickedness of others, or because I hurried too 
much, i.e. y acted without deliberation, determined not by 
motives distinctly known in abstracto, but by merely per- 
ceived motives, by the present and the emotion which it 
excited, and which was so strong that I had not properly 
the use of my reason ; but the return of reflection is thus 
here also merely corrected knowledge, and from this re- 
pentance may proceed, which always proclaims itself by 
making amends for the past, as far as is possible. Yet 
it must be observed that, in order to deceive themselves, 
men prearrange what seem to be hasty errors, but are 
really secretly considered actions. For we deceive and 
flatter no one through such fine devices as ourselves. The 
converse of the case we have given may also occur. I may 
be misled by too good an opinion of others, or want of 
knowledge of the relative value of the good things of 
life, or some abstract dogma in which I have since lost 
faith, and thus I may act less egotistically than is in 


keeping with my character, and lay up for myself repent- 
ance of another kind. Thus repentance is always cor- 
rected knowledge of the relation of an act to its special 
intention. When the will reveals its Ideas in space alone, 
i.e., through mere form, the matter in which other Ideas — 
in this case natural forces — already reign, resists the will, 
and seldom allows the form that is striving after visi- 
bility to appear in perfect purity and distinctness, ie., in 
perfect beauty. And there is an analogous hindrance to 
the will as it reveals itself in time alone, i.e., through 
actions, in the knowledge which seldom gives it the data 
quite correctly, so that the action which takes place does 
not accurately correspond to the will, and leads to 
repentance. Eepentance thus always proceeds from 
corrected knowledge, not from the change of t 4 he will, 
which is impossible. Anguish of conscience for past 
deeds is anything but repentance. It is pain at the 
knowledge of oneself in one's inmost nature, ie., as will 
It rests precisely on the certainty that we have still the 
same will. If the will were changed, and therefore the 
anguish of conscience mere repentance, it would cease to 
exist. The past could then no longer give us pain, for 
it exhibited the expressions of a will which is no longer 
that of him who has repented. We shall explain the 
significance of anguish of conscience in detail farther on. 

The influence which knowledge, as the medium of 
motives, exerts, not indeed upon the will itself, but upon 
its appearance in actions, is also the source of the prin- 
cipal distinction between the action of men and that of 
brutes, for their methods of knowledge are different. 
The brute has only knowledge of perception, the man, 
through reason, has also abstract ideas, conceptions. 
Now, although man and brute are with equal necessity 
determined by their motives, yet man, as distinguished 
from the brute, has a complete choice, which has often 
been regarded as a freedom of the will in particular 
actions, although it is nothing but the possibility of a 

3^4 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

thoroughly - fought - out battle between several motives, 
the strongest of which then determines it with necessity. 
For this the motives must have assumed the form of 
abstract thoughts, because it is really only by means of 
these that deliberation, i.e. t a weighing of opposite 
reasons for action, is possible. In the case of the brute 
there can only be a choice between perceptible motives 
presented to it, so that the choice is limited to the narrow 
sphere of its present sensuous perception. Therefore the 
necessity of the determination of the will by the motive, 
which is like that of the effect by the cause, can be 
exhibited perceptibly and directly only in the case of the 
brutes, because here the spectator has the motives just 
as directly before his eyes as their effect ; while in the 
case of man the motives are almost always abstract ideas, 
which are not communicated to the spectator, and even 
for the actor himself the necessity of their effect is hidden 
behind their conflict. For only in ahstracto can several 
ideas, as judgments and chains of conclusions, lie beside 
each other in consciousness, and then, free from all deter- 
mination of time, work against each other till the stronger 
overcomes the rest and determines the will. This is the 
complete choice or power of deliberation which man has 
as distinguished from the brutes, and on account of 
which freedom of the will has been attributed to him, in 
the belief that his willing is a mere result of the opera- 
tions of his intellect, without a definite tendency which 
serves as its basis ; while, in truth, the motives only work 
on the foundation and under the presupposition of his 
definite tendency, which in his case is individual, i.e., a 
character. A fuller exposition of this power of delibera- 
tion, and the difference between human and brute choice 
which is introduced by it, will be found in the " Two 
Fundamental Problems of Ethics" (ist edition, p. 35, 
et seq. ; 2d edition, p. 34, et seq.), to which 1 therefore 
refer. For the rest, this power of deliberation which 
man possesses is one of those things that makes his 


existence so much more miserable than that of the brute. 
For in general our greatest sufferings do not lie in the 
present as ideas of perception or as immediate feelings ; 
but in the reason, as abstract conceptions, painful 
thoughts, from which the brute, which lives only in the 
present, and therefore in enviable carelessness, is entirely 

It seems to have been the dependence, which we have 
shown, of the human power of deliberation upon the 
faculty of abstract thinking, and thus also of judging and 
drawing conclusions also, that led both Descartes and 
Spinoza to identify the decisions of the will with the 
faculty of asserting and denying (the faculty of judgment). 
From this Descartes deduced the doctrine that the will, 
which, according to him, is indifferently free, is the source 
of sin, and also of all theoretical error. And Spinoza, on 
the other hand, concluded that the will is necessarily 
determined by the motives, as the judgment is by the 
reasons. 1 The latter doctrine is in a sense true, but it 
appears as a true conclusion from false premises. 

The distinction we have established between the ways 
in which the brutes and man are respectively moved by 
motives exerts a very wide influence upon the nature of 
both, and has most to do with the complete and obvious 
differences of their existence. While an idea of percep- 
tion is in every case the motive which determines the 
brute, the man strives to exclude this kind of motivation 
altogether, and to determine himself entirely by abstract 
ideas. Thus he uses his prerogative of reason to the 
greatest possible advantage. Independent of the present, 
he neither chooses nor avoids the passing pleasure or pain, 
but reflects on the consequences of both. In most cases, 
setting aside quite insignificant actions, we are deter- 
mined by abstract, thought motives, not present impres- 
sions. Therefore all particular privation for the moment 
is for us comparatively light, but all renunciation is ter- 

1 Cart. Medit. 4. — Spin. Eth., pt. il prop. 48 et 49, cat. 
VOL. L 2 B 

386 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

ribly hard; for the former only concerns the fleeting 
present, but the latter concerns the future, and includes 
in itself innumerable privations, of which it is the equi- 
valent The causes of our pain, as of our pleasure, lie 
for the most part, not in the real present, but merely in 
abstract thoughts. It is these which are often unbearable 
to us — inflict torments in comparison with which all the 
sufferings of the animal world are very small ; for even 
our own physical pain is not felt at all when they are 
present. Indeed, in the case of keen mental suffering, 
we even inflict physical suffering on ourselves merely to 
distract our attention from the former to the latter. This 
is why, in great mental anguish, men tear their hair, beat 
their breasts, lacerate their faces, or roll on the floor, for 
all these are in reality only violent means of diverting 
the mind from an unbearable thought Just because 
mental pain, being much greater, makes us insensible 
to physical pain, suicide is very easy to the person who 
is in despair, or who is consumed by morbid depression, 
even though formerly, in comfortable circumstances, he 
recoiled at the thought of it In the same way care and 
passion (thus the play of thought) wear out the body 
oftener and more than physical hardships. And in 
accordance with this Epictetus rightly says : Tapaaaei 
tou9 avdpcoirovs ov to, irpay^iara, aXka ra irepi todp 
TrpayfiaTcov Soyfiara (Perturbant homines non res ipsa, 
sed de rebus decreta) (V.) ; and Seneca : Plura sunt qua 
nos terrent, quam quce premunt, et scepius opinione quam re 
labor amus (Ep. 5). Eulenspiegel also admirably bantered 
human nature, for going uphill he laughed, and going 
downhill he wept Indeed, children who have hurt 
themselves often cry, not at the pain, but at the thought 
of the pain which is awakened when some one condoles 
with them. Such great differences in conduct and in life 
arise from the diversity between the methods of know- 
ledge of the brutes and man. Further, the appearance 
of the distinct and decided individual character, the 


principal distinction between man and the brute, which 
has scarcely more than the character of the species, is 
conditioned by the choice between several motives, which 
is only possible through abstract conceptions. For only 
after a choice has been made are the resolutions, which 
vary in different individuals, an indication of the indi- 
vidual character which is different in each; while the 
action of the brute depends only upon the presence or 
absence of the impression, supposing this impression to 
be in general a motive for its species. And, finally, in 
the case of man, only the resolve, and not the mere wish, 
is a valid indication of his character both for himself 
and for others ; but the resolve becomes for himself, as 
for others, a certain fact only through the deed. The 
wish is merely the necessary consequence of the present 
impression, whether of the outward stimulus, or the 
inward passing mood; and is therefore as immediately 
necessary and devoid of consideration as the action of 
the brutes. Therefore, like the action of the brutes, it 
merely expresses the character of the species, not that 
of the individual, i.e., it indicates merely what man in 
general, not what the individual who experiences the 
wish, is capable of doing. The deed alone, — because as 
human action it always requires a certain deliberation, 
and because as a rule a man has command of his reason, 
is considerate, i.e., decides in accordance with considered 
and abstract motives, — is the expression of the intel- 
ligible maxims of his conduct, the result of his inmost 
willing, and is related as a letter to the word that stands 
for his empirical character, itself merely the temporal 
expression of his intelligible character. In a healthy 
mind, therefore, only deeds oppress the conscience, not 
wishes and thoughts ; for it is only our deeds that hold 
up to us the mirror of our will. The deed referred to 
above, that is entirely unconsidered and is really commit- 
ted in blind passion, is to a certain extent an interme- 
diate thing between the mere wish and the resolve. 

388 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

Therefore, by true repentance, which, however, shows 
itself as action also, it can be obliterated, as a falsely 
drawn line, from that picture of our will which our 
course of life is. I may insert the remark here, as a 
very good comparison, that the relation between wish and 
deed has a purely accidental but accurate analogy with that 
between the accumulation and discharge of electricity. 

As the result of the whole of this discussion of the 
freedom of the will and what relates to it, we find 
that although the will may, in itself and apart from the 
phenomenon, be called free and even omnipotent, yet in 
its particular phenomena enlightened by knowledge, as in 
men and brute3, it is determined by motives to which 
the special character regularly and necessarily responds, 
and always in the same way. We see that because of the 
possession on his part of abstract or rational knowledge, 
man, as distinguished from the brutes, has a choice, which 
only makes him the scene of the conflict of his motives, 
without withdrawing him from their control. This choice 
is therefore certainly the condition of the possibility of the 
complete expression of the individual character, but is by 
no means to be regarded as freedom of the particular voli- 
tion, i.e., independence of the law of causality, the neces- 
sity of which extends to man as to every other pheno- 
menon. Thus the difference between human volition 
and that of the brutes, which is introduced by reason or 
knowledge through concepts, extends to the point we 
have indicated, and no farther. But, what is quite a 
different thing, there may arise a phenomenon of the 
human will which is quite impossible in the brute 
creation, if man altogether lays aside the knowledge of 
particular things as such which is subordinate to the 
principle of sufficient reason, and by means of his know- 
ledge of the Ideas sees through the principium indivi- 
duationi8. Then an actual appearance of the real free- 
dom of the will as a thing-in-itself is possible, by which 
the phenomenon comes into a sort of contradiction with 


itself, as is indicated by the word self-renunciation ; and, 
finally, the "in-itself" of its nature suppresses itself. 
But this, the one, real, and direct expression of the 
freedom of the will in itself in the phenomenon, cannot 
be distinctly explained here, but will form the subject 
of the concluding part of our work. 

Now that we have shown clearly in these pages the 
unalterable nature of the empirical character, which is 
just the unfolding of the intelligible character that lies 
outside time, together with the necessity with which 
actions follow upon its contact with motives, we hasten 
to anticipate an argument which may very easily be 
drawn from this in the interest of bad dispositions. 
Our character is to be regarded as the temporal un- 
folding of an extra- temporal, and therefore indivisible 
and unalterable, act of will, or an intelligible character. 
This necessarily determines all that is essential in our 
conduct in life, i.e., its ethical content, which must 
express itself in accordance with it in its phenomenal 
appearance, the empirical character ; while only what 
is unessential in this, the outward form of our course 
of life, depends upon the forms in which the motives 
present themselves. It might, therefore, be inferred 
that it is a waste of trouble to endeavour to improve 
one's character, and that it is wiser to submit to the 
inevitable, and gratify every inclination at once, even 
if it is bad. But this is precisely the same thing as 
the theory of an inevitable fate which is called apyos 
\oyos, and in more recent times Turkish faith. Its 
true refutation, as it is supposed to have been given by 
Chrysippus, is explained by Cicero in his book De Fato, 
ch. 12, 13, 

Though everything may be regarded as irrevocably 
predetermined by fate, yet it is so only through the 
medium of the chain of causes; therefore in no case 
can it be determined that an effect shall appear without 
its cause. Thus it is not simply the event that is 

39© THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

predetermined, but the event as the consequence of 
preceding causes ; so that fate does not decide the con- 
sequence alone, but also the means as the consequence 
of which it is destined to appear. Accordingly, if some 
means is not present, it is certain that the consequence 
also will not be present : each is always present in ac- 
cordance with the determination of fate, but this is never 
known to us till afterwards. 

As events always take place according to fate, i.e., accord- 
ing to the infinite concatenation of causes, so our actions 
always take place according to our intelligible character. 
But just as we do not know the former beforehand, so no 
a priori insight is given us into the latter, but we only 
come to know ourselves as we come to know other per- 
sons a posteriori through experience. If the intelligible 
character involved that we could only form a good resolu- 
tion after a long conflict with a bad disposition, this con- 
flict would have to come first and be waited for. Reflec- 
tion on the unalterable nature of the character, on the 
unity of the source from which all our actions flow, must 
not mislead us into claiming the decision of the character 
in favour of one side or the other ; it is in the resolve 
that follows that we shall see what manner of men we 
are, and mirror ourselves in our actions. This is the 
explanation of the satisfaction or the anguish of soul 
with which we look back on the course of our past life. 
Both are experienced, not because these past deeds have 
still an existence; they are past, they have been, and 
now are no more; but their great importance for us lies 
in their significance, lies in the fact that these deeds are 
the expression of the character, the mirror of the will, in 
which we look and recognise our inmost self, the kernel 
of our will. Because we experience this not before, but 
only after, it behoves us to strive and fight in time, in 
order that the picture we produce by our deeds may be 
such that the contemplation of it may calm us as much 
as possible, instead of harassing us. The significance of 


this consolation or anguish of soul will, as we have said, 
be inquired into farther on ; but to this place there be- 
longs the inquiry which follows, and which stands by 

Besides the intelligible and the empirical character, we 
must mention a third which is different from them both, 
the acquired character, which one only receives in life 
through contact with the world, and which is referred to 
when one is praised as a man of character or censured as 
being without character. Certainly one might suppose 
that, since the empirical character, as the phenomenon of 
the intelligible, is unalterable, and, like every natural 
phenomenon, is consistent with itself, man would always 
have to appear like himself and consistent, and would 
therefore have no need to acquire a character artificially 
by experience and reflection. But the case is otherwise, 
and although a man is always the same, yet he does not 
always understand himself, but often mistakes himself, till 
he has in some degree acquired real self-knowledge. The 
empirical character, as a mere natural tendency, is in itself 
irrational; nay,more,its expressions are disturbed by reason, 
all the more so the more intellect and power of thought 
the man has; for these always keep before him what 
becomes man in general as the character of the species, 
and what is possible for him both in will and in deed. 
This makes it the more difficult for him to see how much 
his individuality enables him to will and to accomplish. 
He finds in himself the germs of all the various human 
pursuits and powers, but the difference of degree in which 
they exist in his individuality is not clear to him in the 
absence of experience ; and if he now applies himself to 
the pursuits which alone correspond to his character, he 
yet feels, especially at particular moments and in parti- 
cular moods, the inclination to directly opposite pursuits 
which cannot be combined with them, but must be en- 
tirely suppressed if he desires to follow the former undis- 
turbed. For as our physical path upon earth is always 

392 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

merely a line, not an extended surface, so in life, if we 
desire to grasp and possess one thing, we must renounce 
and leave innumerable others on the right hand and on 
the left. If we cannot make up our minds to this, but, 
like children at the fair, snatch at everything that attracts 
us in passing, we are making the perverse endeavour to 
change the line of our path into an extended surface ; we 
run in a zigzag, skip about like a will o* the wisp, and 
attain to nothing. Or, to use another comparison, as, 
according to Hobbes' philosophy of law, every one has an 
original right to everything but an exclusive right to 
nothing, yet can obtain an exclusive right to particular 
things by renouncing his right to all the rest, while 
others, on their part, do likewise with regard to what he 
has chosen ; so is it in life, in which some definite pur- 
suit, whether it be pleasure, honour, wealth, science, art, 
or virtue, can only be followed with seriousness and 
success when all claims that are foreign to it are given 
up, when everything else is renounced. Accordingly, the 
mere will and the mere ability are not sufficient, but a 
man must also know what he wills, and know what he 
can do ; only then will he show character, and only then 
can he accomplish something right Until he attains to 
that, notwithstanding the natural consistency of the empi- 
rical character, he is without character. And although, 
on the whole, he must remain true to himself, and fulfil 
his course, led by his daemon, yet his path will not be a 
straight line, but wavering and uneven. He will hesitate, 
deviate, turn back, lay up for himself repentance and 
pain. And all this is because, in great and small, he sees 
before him all that is possible and attainable for man in 
general, but does not know what part of all this is alone 
suitable for him, can be accomplished by him, and is 
alone enjoyable by him. He will, therefore, envy many 
men on account of a position and circumstances which 
are yet only suitable to their characters and not to his, 
and in which he would feel unhappy, if indeed he found 


them endurable at all. For as a fish is only at home in 
water, a bird in the air, a mole in the earth, so every 
man is only at home in the atmosphere suitable to him. 
For example, not all men can breathe the air of court 
life. From deficiency of proper insight into all this, 
many a man will make all kinds of abortive attempts, 
will do violence to his character in particulars, and yet, 
on the whole, will have to yield to it again ; and what 
he thus painfully attains will give him no pleasure ; what 
he thus learns will remain dead ; even in an ethical re- 
gard, a deed that is too noble for his character, that has 
not sprung from pure, direct impulse, but from a concept, 
a dogma, will lose all merit, even in his own eyes, through 
subsequent egoistical repentance. Telle non discitur. 
We only become conscious of the inflexibility of another 
person's character through experience, and till then we 
childishly believe that it is possible, by means of rational 
ideas, by prayers and entreaties, by example and noble- 
mindedness, ever to persuade any one to leave his own 
way, to change his course of conduct, to depart from his 
mode of thinking, or even to extend his capacities : so is 
it also with ourselves. We must first learn from expe- 
rience what we desire and what we can do. Till then 
we know it not, we are without character, and must often 
be driven back to our own way by hard blows from with- 
out But if we have finally learnt it, then we have 
attained to what in the world is called character, the 
acquired character. This is accordingly nothing but the 
most perfect knowledge possible of our own individu- 
ality. It is the abstract, and consequently distinct, 
knowledge of the unalterable qualities of our own em- 
pirical character, and of the measure and direction of 
our mental and physical powers, and thus of the whole 
strength and weakness of our own individuality. This 
places us in a position to carry out deliberately and 
methodically the role which belongs to our own person, 
and to fill up the gaps which caprices or weaknesses 

394 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

produce in it, under the guidance of fixed conceptions. 
This role is in itself unchangeably determined once for 
all, but hitherto we have allowed it to follow its natural 
course without any rule. We have now brought to 
distinct conscious maxims which are always present to 
us the form of conduct which is necessarily determined 
by our own individual nature, and now we conduct it 
in accordance with them as deliberately as if we had 
learned it; without ever falling into error through the 
passing influence of the mood or the impression of the 
present, without being checked by the bitterness or 
sweetness of some particular thing we meet with on our 
path, without delay, without hesitation, without incon- 
sistency. We shall now no longer, as novices, wait, 
attempt, and grope about in order to see what we really 
desire and are able to do, but we know this once for all, 
and in every choice we have only to apply general prin- 
ciples to particular cases, and arrive at once at a deci- 
sion. We know our will in general, and do not allow 
ourselves to be led by the passing mood or by solici- 
tations from without to resolve in particular cases what 
is contrary to it as a whole. We know in the same 
way the nature and the measure of our strength and our 
weakness, and thereby are spared much suffering. For 
we experience no real pleasure except in the use and 
feeling of our own powers, and the greatest pain is the 
conscious deficiency of our powers where we need 
them. If, now, we have discovered where our strength 
and our weakness lie, we will endeavour to cultivate, 
employ, and in every way make use of those talents 
which are naturally prominent in us. We will always 
turn to those occupations in which they are valuable and 
to the purpose, and entirely avoid, even with self- 
renunciation, those pursuits for which we have naturally 
little aptitude; we will beware of attempting that in 
which we have no chance of succeeding. Only he 
who has attained to this will constantly and with 


full consciousness be completely himself, and will 
never fail himself at the critical moment, because he 
will always have known what he could expect from 
himself. He will often enjoy the satisfaction of feeling 
his strength, and seldom experience the pain of being 
reminded of his weakness. The latter is mortification, 
which causes perhaps the greatest of mental sufferings ; 
therefore it is far more endurable to have our misfortune 
brought clearly before us than our incapacity. And, 
further, if we are thus fully acquainted with our strength 
and our weakness, we will not attempt to make a show 
of powers which we do not possess ; we will not play 
with base coin, for all such dissimulation misses the 
mark in the end. For since the whole man is only the 
phenomenon of his will, nothing can be more perverse 
than to try, by means of reflection, to become something 
else than one is, for this is a direct contradiction of 
the will with itself. The imitation of the qualities 
and idiosyncrasies of others is much more shameful than 
to dress in other people's clothes ; for it is the judg- 
ment of our own worthlessness pronounced by ourselves. 
Knowledge of our own mind and its capacities of every 
kind, and their unalterable limits, is in this respect the 
surest way to the attainment of the greatest possible 
contentment with ourselves. Tor it holds good of in- 
ward as of outward circumstances that there is for us no 
consolation so effective as the complete certainty of un- 
alterable necessity. No evil that befalls us pains us so 
much as the thought of the circumstances by which it 
might have been warded off. Therefore nothing com- 
forts us so effectually as the consideration of what has 
happened from the standpoint of necessity, from which 
all accidents appear as tools in the hand of an over- 
ruling fate, and we therefore recognise the evil that has 
come to us as inevitably produced by the conflict of 
inner and outer circumstances ; in other words, fatalism. 
We really only complain and storm so long as we hope 

39^ THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

either to affect others or to excite ourselves to unheard- 
of efforts. But children and grown-up people know very 
well to yield contentedly as soon as they clearly see 
that it absolutely cannot be otherwise : — Sv^wv kvl 
aT7]0€<r<Tt, <f>t\ov hafjidcravT€<i dvdy/cT) (Animo in pectoribus 
nostra domito necessitate). We are like the entrapped 
elephants, that rage and struggle for many days, till they 
see that it is useless, and then suddenly offer their necks 
quietly to the yoke, tamed for ever. We are like King 
David, who, as long as his son still lived, unceasingly 
importuned Jehovah with prayers, and behaved himself 
as if in despair ; but as soon as his son was dead, thought 
no longer about it. Hence it arises that innumerable 
permanent ills, such as lameness, poverty, low estate, 
ugliness, a disagreeable dwelling-place, are borne with 
indifference by innumerable persons, and are no longer 
felt, like healed wounds, just because these persons know 
that inward or outward necessity renders it impossible 
that any change can take place in these things ; while 
those who are more fortunate cannot understand how 
such misfortunes can be borne. Now as with outward 
necessity, so also with inward; nothing reconciles so 
thoroughly as a distinct knowledge of it. If we have 
once for all distinctly recognised not only our good 
qualities and our strength, but also our defects and 
weakness, established our aim accordingly, and rest satis- 
fied concerning what cannot be attained, we thus escape 
in the surest way, as far as our individuality permits, the 
bitterest of all sorrows, discontentment with ourselves, 
which is the inevitable result of ignorance of our own 
individuality, of false conceit and the audacity that pro- 
ceeds from it. To the bitter chapter of the self-know- 
ledge here recommended the lines of Ovid admit of 
excellent application — 

u Optimus ille animi vindex Iccdcntia pectus, 
Vinculo, qui rupit, dedoluiique semd? 


So much with regard to the acquired character, which, 
indeed, is not of so much importance for ethics proper 
as for life in the world. But its investigation was 
related as that of a third species to the investigation of 
the intelligible and the empirical character, in regard to 
which we were obliged to enter upon a somewhat detailed 
inquiry in order to bring out clearly how in all its 
phenomena the will is subject to necessity, while yet in 
itself it may be called free and even omnipotent, 

§ 56. This freedom, this omnipotence, as the expres- 
sion of which the whole visible world exists and pro- 
gressively develops in accordance with the laws which 
belong to the form of knowledge, can now, at the point 
at which in its most perfect manifestation it has attained 
to the completely adequate knowledge of its own nature, 
express itself anew in two ways. Either it wills here, at 
the summit of mental endowment and self-consciousness, 
simply what it willed before blindly and unconsciously, 
and if so, knowledge always remains its motive in the 
whole as in the particular case. Or, conversely, this know- 
ledge becomes for it a quieter, which appeases and sup- 
presses all willing. This is that assertion and denial of 
the will to live which was stated above in general terms. 
As, in the reference of individual conduct, a general, not 
a particular manifestation of will, it does not disturb and 
modify the development of the character, nor does it 
find its expression in particular actions ; but, either by 
an ever more marked appearance of the whole method of 
action it has followed hitherto, or conversely by the 
entire suppression of it, it expresses in a living form the 
maxims which the will has freely adopted in accordance 
with the knowledge it has now attained to. By the 
explanations we have just given of freedom, necessity, and 
character, we have somewhat facilitated and prepared the 
way for the clearer development of all this, which is the 
principal subject of this last book. But we shall have 
done so still more when we have turned our attention to 

398 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

life itself, the willing or not willing of which is the great 
question, and have endeavoured to find out generally 
what the will itself, which is everywhere the inmost 
nature of this life, will really attain by its assertion — in 
what way and to what extent this assertion satisfies or can 
satisfy the will ; in short, what is generally and mainly to 
be regarded as its position in this its own world, which 
in every relation belongs to it. 

First of all, I wish the reader to recall the passage 
with which we closed the Second Book, — a passage occa- 
sioned by the question, which met us then, as to the end 
and aim of the will Instead of the answer to this ques- 
tion, it appeared clearly before us how, in all the grades 
of its manifestation, from the lowest to the highest, the 
will dispenses altogether with a final goal and aim. It 
always strives, for striving is its sole nature, which no 
attained goal can put an end to. Therefore it is not sus- 
ceptible of any final satisfaction, but can only be restrained 
by hindrances, while in itself it goes on for ever. We 
see this in the simplest of all natural phenomena, gravity, 
which does not cease to strive and press towards a 
mathematical centre to reach which would be the anni- 
hilation both of itself and matter, and would not cease 
even if the whole universe were already rolled into one 
ball We see it in the other simple natural phenomena. 
A solid tends towards fluidity either by melting or dis- 
solving, for only so will its chemical forces be free; 
rigidity is the imprisonment in which it is held by cold. 
The fluid tends towards the gaseous state, into which it 
passes at once as soon as all pressure is removed from it. 
No body is without relationship, i.e., without tendency or 
without desire and longing, as Jacob Bohme would say. 
Electricity transmits its inner self-repulsion to infinity, 
though the mass of the earth absorbs the effect. Gal- 
vanism is certainly, so long as the pile is working, an 
aimless, unceasingly repeated act of repulsion and attrac- 
tion. The existence of the plant is just such a restless, 


never satisfied striving, a ceaseless tendency through ever- 
ascending forms, till the end, the seed, becomes a new 
starting-point ; and this repeated ad infinitum — nowhere 
an end, nowhere a final satisfaction, nowhere a resting : 
place. It will also be remembered, from the Second Book, 
that the multitude of natural forces and organised forms 
everywhere strive with each other for the matter in which 
they desire to appear, for each of them only possesses what 
it has wrested from the others; and thus a constant inter- 
necine war is waged, from which, for the most part, arises 
the resistance through which that striving, which con- 
stitutes the inner nature of everything, is at all points 
hindered ; struggles in vain, yet, from its nature, cannot 
leave off; toils on laboriously till this phenomenon dies, 
when others eagerly seize its place and its matter. 

We have long since recognised this striving, which 
constitutes the kernel and in-itself of everything, as iden- . / 
tical with that which in us, where it manifests itself 
most distinctly in the light of the fullest consciousness, 
is called will. Its hindrance through an obstacle which 
places itself between it and its temporary aim we call 
suffering, and, on the other hand, its attainment of the 
end satisfaction, wellbeing, happiness. We may also trans- 
fer this terminology to the phenomena of the unconscious 
world, for though weaker in degree, they are identical 
in nature. Then we see them involved in constant suffer- 
ing, and without any continuing happiness. For all effort 
springs from defect — from discontent with one's estate 
— is thus suffering so long as it is not satisfied ; but no 
satisfaction is lasting, rather it is always merely the 
starting-point of a new effort. The striving we see • 
everywhere hindered in many ways, everywhere in con- 
flict, and therefore always under the form of suffering. 
Thus, if there is no final end of striving, there is no 
measure and end of suffering. 

But what we only discover in unconscious Nature by 
sharpened observation, and with an effort, presents itself 

i<*> THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

distinctly to us in the intelligent world in the life of 
animals, whose constant suffering is easily proved. But 
without lingering over these intermediate grades, we shall 
turn to the life of man, in which all this appears with 
the greatest distinctness, illuminated by the clearest 
knowledge ; for as the phenomenon of will becomes more 
complete, the suffering also becomes more and more appa- 
rent. In the plant there is as yet no sensibility, and 
therefore no pain. A certain very small degree of suffer- 
ing is experienced by the lowest species of animal life — 
infusoria and radiata; even in insects the capacity to feel and 
suffer is still limited. It first appears in a high degree 
with the complete nervous system of vertebrate animals, 
and always in a higher degree the more intelligence 
develops. Thus, in proportion as knowledge attains to 
distinctness, as consciousness ascends, pain also increases, 
and therefore reaches its highest degree in man. And 
then, again, the more distinctly a man knows, the more 
intelligent he is, the more pain he has ; the man who is 
gifted with genius suffers most of alL In this sense, that 
is, with reference to the degree of knowledge in general, 
not mere abstract rational knowledge, I understand and 
use here that saying of the Preacher : Qui auget svientiam, 
auget et dolorem. That philosophical painter or painting 
philosopher, Tischbein, has very beautifully expressed the 
accurate relation between the degree of consciousness and 
that of suffering by exhibiting it in a visible and clear 
form in a drawing. The upper half of his drawing repre- 
sents women whose children have been stolen, and who 
in different groups and attitudes, express in many ways 
deep maternal pain, anguish, and despair. The lower half 
of the drawing represents sheep whose lambs have been 
taken away. They are arranged and grouped in precisely 
the same way ; so that every human head, every human 
attitude of the upper half, has below a brute head and 
attitude corresponding to it. Thus we see distinctly how 
the pain which is possible in the dull brute consciousness 


is related to the violent grief, which only becomes possible 
through distinctness of knowledge and clearness of con- 

We desire to consider in this way, in human existence, 
the inner and essential destiny of will. Every one will 
easily recognise that same destiny expressed in various 
degrees in the life of the brutes, only more weakly, and 
may also convince himself to his own satisfaction, from 
the suffering animal world, how essential to all life is 

§ 57. At every grade that is enlightened by know- 
ledge, the will appears as an individual The human 
individual finds himself as finite in infinite space and 
time, and consequently as a vanishing quantity compared 
with them. He is projected into them, and, on account 
of their unlimited nature, he has always a merely rela- 
tive, never absolute when and where of his existence; 
for his place and duration are finite parts of what is 
infinite and boundless. His real existence is onlv in 

•San r- 1. ,, ,„ 1, ...... t/_...j,.„„mT 

the p resent, wh ose imch e oko dr-^h^intaJ^he_ past is a 
con^Unj^transition into death, a constant dying. For 
his past life, apart from its possible consequences for 
the present, and the testimony regarding the will that 
is expressed in it, is now entirely done with, dead, and 
no longer anything ; and, therefore, it must be, as a 
matter of reason, indifferent to him whether the content 
of that past was pain or pleasure. But the present is 
always passing through his hands into the past ; the 
future is quite uncertain and always short. Thus his 
existence, even when we consider only its formal side, ] 
is a constant hurrying of the present into the dead past,V 
a constant dying. But if we look at it from the * 
physical side ; it is clear that, as our walking is 
admittedly merely a constantly prevented falling, the 
life of our body is only a constantly prevented dying, 
an ever-postponed death : finally, in the same way, the 
activit y ot our mind is __a_constantly deferred ennuj. 
vol. 1. 2 


402 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

Every breath we draw wards off the death that is con- 
stantly intruding upon us. In this way we fight wi£h 
it every moment, and again, at longer intervals, through 
every meal we eat, every sleep we take, every time we 
warm ourselves, &c. In the end, death must con- 
quer, for we became subject to him through birth, 
land he only plays for a little while with his prey before 
|he swallows it up. We pursue our life, however, with 
great interest and much solicitude as long as possible, 
as we blow out a soap-bubble as long and as large as 
possible, although we know perfectly well that it will 

We saw that the ipnp.r fr eing of unconscious nature 

ja-iL-CQnstant- friaiiriiig..jcithftflt P.nd and without rpcf„ 

And this appears to us much more distinctly when we 
consider the nature of brutes and man. . Willing and^. 
striv ing is its whole being, which may be very well 
compared to an unquenchable thirst. But the basis of 
all willing is need, deficiency, apfl thus pain Conse- 
quently, the nature of brutes and man is subject to pain 
originally and through its very being. If, on the other 
hand, it lacks objects of desire, because it is at once 
deprived of them by a too easy satisfaction, a terrible 
i void and ennui comes over it, i.e„ its being and exist- 
ence itself becomes an unbearable burden to it Thus 
its life swings like a pendulum backwards and forwards 
between pain and ennui. This has also had to express 

(l itself very oddly in this way ; after man had transferred 
! all pain and torments to hell, there then remained no- 
\ thing over for heaven but ennui. 

But the constant striving which constitutes the inner 
nature of every manifestation of will obtains its primary 
and most general foundation at the higher grades of 
objectification, from the fact that here th e w iH manifesto 
jtaplf na 11 living hnrty with the iron command to nourish 
it; and what gives strength to this command is just 
that thi sjbody is nothing but the o b jectified will to live 


itself. Man, as the most complete objectification of that 
will, is in like measure also the most necessitous of all 
beings : he is through and through concrete willing and 
needing; he is a concretion of a thousand necessities. 
With these he stands upon the earth, left to himself, 
uncertain about everything except his own need and 
misery. Consequently the care for the maintenance of 
that existence under exacting demands, which are renewed 
every day, occupies, as a rule, the whole of human life. 
To this is directly related the second claim, that of the 
propagation of the species. At the same time he is 
threatened from all sides by the most different kinds of 
dangers, from which it requires constant watchfulness to 
escape. With cautious steps and casting anxious glances 
round him he pursues his path, for a thousand accidents 
and a thousand enemies lie in wait for him. Thus he 
went while yet a savage, thus he goes in civilised life ; 
t here is no securit y for him. 

" Qualibus in tenebris vita, guantisque periclis 
Degitur hoed cevi> quodcunque est I " — Lucr. ii. 15. 

The life of the great majority is only a constant struggle 
for this existence itself, with the_ cert ainty of losing it 
at las t. But what enables them to endure this weari- 
some battle is not so much the love of life as the feai V 
of death, which yet stands in the background as inevit- 
able, and may come upon them at any moment. Life 
itself is a sea, full of rocks and whirlpools, which man 
avoids with the greatest care and solicitude, although he 
knows that even if he succeeds in getting through with 
all his efforts and skill, he yet by doing so comes nearer 
at every step to the greatest, the total, inevitable, and 
irremediable shipwreck, death; nay, even steers right 
upon it : this is the final goal of the laborious voyage, 
and worse for him than all the rocks from which he has 

Kow it is well worth observing that, on the one hand, 

404 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

the suffering and misery of life may easily increase to 
such an extent that death itself, in the flight from which 
the whole of life consists, becomes desirable, and we hasten 
towards it voluntarily ; and again, on the other hand, that 

fas soon as want and suffering permit rest to a man, ennui 
is at once so near that he necessarily requires diversion. 
The striving after existence is what occupies all living 
things and maintains them in motion. But when exist- 
ence is assured, then they know not what to do with it; 
thus the second thing that sets them in motion is the 
effort to get free from the burden of existence, to make 
it cease to be felt, "to kill time," i.e., to escape from 
\ ennui. Accordingly we see that almost all men who are 
\ secure from want and care, now that at last they have 
) thrown off all other burdens, become a burden to them- 
selves, and regard as a gain every hour they succeed in 
getting through, and thus every diminution of the very 
life which, till then, they have employed all their powers to 
maintain as long as possible. Ennuj is by no means an evil 
to be lightly esteemed ; in the end it depicts on the counte- 
nance real d es p ai r It makes beings who love each other 
so little as men do, seek each other eagerly, and thus be- 
comes the source of social intercourse. Moreover, even 
from motives of policy, public precautions are everywhere 
taken against it, as against other universal calamities. For 
this evil may drive men to the greatest excesses, just as 
much as its opposite extreme, famine : the people require 
panem et circenses. The strict penitentiary system of 
Philadelphia makes use of ennui alone as a means of pun- 
ishment, through solitary confinement and idleness, and 
it is found so terrible that it has even led prisoners to 
commit suicide. As want is the constant scourge of the 
people, so ennui is that of the fashionable world. In 
middle-class life ennui is represented by the Sunday, and 
want by the six week-days. 

Thus between desiring and attaining all human life 
flows on throughout The wish is, in its nature, pain; 


the attainment soon begets satiety: the end was only 
apparent; possession takes away the charm; the wish, 
the need, presents itself under a new form ; when it does 
not, then follows desolateness, emptiness, ennui, against 
which the conflict is just as painful as against want. 
?That wish and satisfaction should follow each other 
neither too quickly nor too slowly reduces the suffering, 
which both occasion to the smallest amount, and consti- 
tutes the happiest life. For that which we might other- 
wise call the most beautiful part of life, its purest joy, if 
it were only because it lifts us out of real existence and 
transforms us into disinterested spectators of it — that 
is, pure knowledge, which is foreign to all willing, the 
pleasure of the beautiful, the true delight in art— this 
is granted only to a very few, because it demands rare 
talents, and to these few only as a passing dream. And 
then, even these few, on account of their higher intellec- 
tual power, are made susceptible of far greater suffering 
than duller minds can ever feel, and are also placed in 
lonely isolation by a nature which is obviously different 
from that of others ; thus here also accounts are squared. 
But to the great majority of men purely intellectual 
pleasures are not accessible. They are almost quite in- 
capable of the joys which lie in pure knowledge. They 
are entirely given up to willing. If, therefore^ anything 
is to win their sympathy, to be interesting to them, it 
must (as is implied in the meaning of the word) in some 
way excite their will, even if it is only through a distant 
and merely problematical relation to it ; the will must not 
be left altogether out of the question, for their existence 
lies far more in willing than in knowing, — action and 
reaction is their one element. We may find in trifles 
and everyday occurrences the naive expressions of this 
quality. Thus, for example, at any place worth seeing 
they may visit, they write their names, in order thus to 
react, to affect the place since it does not affect them. 
Again, when they see a strange rare animal, they cannot 


406 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

easily confine themselves to merely observing it; they 
must rouse it, tease it, play with it, merely to experi- 
ence action and reaction ; but this need for excitement 
of the will manifests itself very specially in the dis- 
covery and support of card- playing, which is quite pecu- 
liarly the expression of the miserable side of humanity. 

But whatever nature and fortune may have done, 
whoever a man be and whatever he may possess, the 
pain which is essential to life cannot be thrown off : — 
1X77X6*8779 8' (pficogev, iScov ei9 ovpavov evpvv (Pelides autem 
cjulavit, intuitus in caelum latum). And again : — £77^09 
fiev irais 77a Kpoviovos, avrap oifyv eiyov aireipeanjv (Jovii 
quidem filius cram Saturnii ; verum azrumnam habebam 
infinitam). The ceaseless efforts to banish suffering ac- 
complish no more than to make it change its form. It 
is PRgp !l!Jg]^ ^ majnifi- 

Tl fflfifl of 1*fo- If we succeed, which is very difficult, in 
removing pain in this form, it immediately assumes a 
thousand others, varying according to age and circum- 
stances, such as lust, passionate love, jealousy, envy, 
hatred, anxiety, ambition, covetousness, sickness, &c, &c. 
If at last it can find entrance in no other form, it comes 
in the sad, grey garments of tediousness and ennui, 
against which we then strive in various ways. If finally 
we succeed in driving this away, we shall hardly do so 
without letting pain enter in one of its earlier forms, and 
the dance begin again from the beginning ; for all himiaj^ 
lif e is tossed backwards and forwards between pain and 
ennui. Depressing as this view of life is, I will draw 
attention, by the way, to an aspect of it from which con- 
solation may be drawn, and perhaps even a stoical indif- 
ference to one's own present ills may be attained. For 
our impatience at these arises for the most part from the 
fact that we regard them as brought about by a chain of 
causes which might easily be different. We do not gene- 
rally grieve over ills which are directly necessary and 
quite universal ; for example, the necessity of age and of 


death, and many daily inconveniences. It is rather the; 
consideration of the accidental nature of the circum- 
stances that brought some sorrow just to us, that gives it 
its sting. // But if we have recognised that pain, as such, 
is inevitable and essential to life, and that nothing de- 
pends upon chance but its mere fashion, the form under 
which it presents itself, that thus our present sorrow fills a 
place that, without it, would at once be occupied by another 
which now is excluded by it, and that therefore fate can 
affect us little in what is essential ; such a reflection, if 
it were to become a living conviction, might produce a 
considerable degree of stoical equanimity, and very much 
lessen the anxious care for our own well-being. But, in 
fact, such a powerful control of reason over directly felt 
suffering seldom or never occurs.// 

Besides, through this view of the inevitableness of pain, 
of the supplanting of one pain by another, and the intro- 
duction of a new pain through the passing away of that 
which preceded it, one might be led to the paradoxical 
but not absurd hypothesis, that in every i'ndi virlnfl l th ft 
niftftarirftj^fjjip. pajn pasp.nt.ia.1 t o him was determine d, once. 
f or all by his nature , a measure which could neither 
remain empty, nor be more than filled, howev er much the 
form of the suffenn^_might_chnr>ge- Thus his suffering 
and well-being would by no means be determined from 
without, but only through that measure, that natural ^ dis- 
nositionj which indeed might experience certain additions 
and diminutions from the physical condition at different 
times, but yet, on the whole, would remain the same, 
and would just be what is called the temperament, or, 
more accurately, the degree in which he might be evtcdko? 
or Sva/coXos, as Plato expresses it in the First Book of the 
Republic, i.e. } in an easy or difficult mood. This hypo- 
thesis is supported not only by the well-known experi- 
ence that great suffering makes all lesser ills cease to be 
felt, and conversely that freedom from great suffering 
makes even the most trifling inconveniences torment us 

408 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

and put us out of humour ; but experience also teaches 
that it' a great misfortune, at the mere thought of which 
we shuddered, actually befalls us, as soon as we have 
overcome the first pain of it, our disposition remains for 
the most part unchanged ; and, conversely, that after the 
attainment of some happiness we have long desired, we 
do not feel ourselves on the whole and permanently very 
much better off and agreeably situated than before. 
Only the moment at which these changes occur affects 
us with unusual strength, as deep sorrow or exulting joy, 
out both soon pass away, for they are based upon illu- 
sion. For they do not spring from the immediately 
present pleasure or pain, but only from the opening up 
of a new future which is anticipated in them. Only by 
borrowing from the future could pain or pleasure be 
heightened so abnormally, and consequently not endur- 
ingly. It would follow, from the hypothesis advanced, 
that a l arge part of the feeling of suffering and of wellr 
being would be subjective and determined a priori^as is 
t he case with knowing : and we may add the following 
remarks as evidence in favour of it. Human cheerful- 
ness or dejection are manifestly not determined by 
external circumstances, such as wealth and position, for 
we see at least as many glad faces among the poor as 
among the rich. Further, the motives which induce 
suicide are so very different, that we can assign no 
motive that is so great as to bring it about, even with 
great probability, in every character, and few that would 
be so small that the like of them had never caused it. 
Now although the degree of our serenity or sadness is 
not at all times the same, yet, in consequence of this 
view, we shall not attribute it to the change of 
outward circumstances, but to that of the inner 
condition, the_jph ysical stat e. For when an actual, 
though only temporary, increase of our serenity, even 
to the extent of joyfulness, takes place, it usually 
appears without any external occasion. It is true that 


we often see our pain arise only from some definite ex- 
ternal relation, and are visibly oppressed and saddened 
by this only. Then we believe that if only this were 
taken away, the greatest contentment would necessarily 
ensue. But this is illusion. The j measur e of our ..pain 
and our happiness is on the whole, according to our 
hypothesis, subjectively determined for each point of time, 
and the motive for sadness is related to that, just as a 
blister which draws to a head all the bad humours other- 
wise distributed is related to the body. The pain which 
is at that period of time essential to our nature, and 
therefore cannot be shaken off, would, without the definite 
external cause of our suffering, be divided at a hundred 
points, and appear in the form of a hundred little annoy- 
ances and cares about things which we now entirely over- 
look, because our capacity for pain is already filled by 
that chief evil which has concentrated in a point all the 
suffering otherwise dispersed. This corresponds also to 
the observation that if a great and pressing care is lifted 
from our breast by its fortunate issue, another imme- 
diately takes its place, the w T hole material of which was 
already there before, yet could not come into conscious- 
ness as care because there was no capacity left for it, and 
therefore this material of care remained indistinct and 
unobserved in a cloudy form on the farthest horizon of 
consciousness. But now that there is room, this prepared 
material at once comes forward and occupies the throne 
of the reigning care of the day {iTpvTavevovaa). And if it 
is very much lighter in its matter than the material of the 
care which has vanished, it knows how to blow itself out 
so as apparently to equal it in size, and thus, as the chief 
care of the day, completely fills the throne. 

Excessive joy and very keen suffering always occur in 
the same person, for they condition each other recipro- 
cally, and are also in common conditioned by great activity 
of the mind. Both are produced, as we have just seen, 
not by what is really present, but by the anticipation of 

4io THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

the future. But since pain is essential to life, and its 
degree is also determined by the nature of the subject, 
sudden changes, because they are always external, cannot 
really alter its degree. Thus an error and delusion 
always lies at the foundation of immoderate joy or grief, 
and consequently both these excessive strainings of the 
mind can be avoided by knowledge. Every immoderate 
joy (exultatio, insolens Icetitid) always rests on the delu- 
sion that one has found in life what can never be found 
there — lasting satisfaction of the harassing desires and 
cares, which are constantly breeding new ones. From 
every particular delusion of this kind one must inevitably 
be brought back later, and then when it vanishes must 
pay for it with pain as bitter as the joy its entrance 
caused was keen. So far, then, it is precisely like a 
height from which one can come down only by a falL 
Therefore one ought to avoid them; and every sudden 
excessive grief is just a fall from some such height, the 
vanishing of such a delusion, and so conditioned by it. 
Consequently we might avoid them both if we had suffi- 
cient control over ourselves to survey things always with 
perfect clearness as a whole and in their connection, and 
steadfastly to guard against really lending them the colours 
which we wish they had. The principal effort of the 
Stoical ethics was to free the mind from all such delusion 
and its consequences, and to give it instead an equani- 
mity that could not be disturbed. It is this insight that 
inspires Horace in the well-known ode — 

" JEqnam, memento rebus in arduiis 
Servare mentem, non secus in bonis 
Ab insolent i temperatam 

For the most part, however, we close our minds against 
the knowledge, which may be compared to a bitter medi- 
cine, that su ffering is essential to lif e, and therefore does, 
n ot flow in upon us from witho ut, but that every one 
carries about with him its perennial source in his own 


heart. We rather seek constantly for an external parti- 
cular cause, as it were, a pretext for the pain which never 
leaves us, just as the free man makes himself an idol, in 
order to have a master. For we unweariedly strive from ! 
wish to wish ; and although every satisfaction, however j 
much it promised, when attained fails to satisfy us, but 
for the most part comes presently to be an error of which 
we are ashamed, yet we do not see that we draw water 
with the sieve of the Danaides, but ever hasten to new 

11 Sed, dum abest quod avemus, id exsuperare videtur 

Ccetera; post aliud, quum contigit Mud, avemus; 

Et sitis cequa tenet vital semper Mantes." — Lucr. iii. 1095. 

Thus it either goes on for ever, or, what is more rare and 
presupposes a certain strength of character, till we reach 
a wish which is not satisfied and yet cannot be given up. 
In that case we have, as it were, found what we sought, 
something that we can always blame, instead of our own 
nature, as the source of our suffering. And thus, although 
we are now at variance with our fate, we are reconciled 
to our existence, for the knowledge is again put far from 
us that suffering is essential to this existence itself, and 
true satisfaction impossible. The result of this form of 
development is a somewhat melancholy disposition, the 
constant endurance of a single great pain, and the con- 
tempt for all lesser sorrows or joys that proceeds from it ; 
consequently an already nobler phenomenon than that 
constant seizing upon ever-new forms of illusion, which is 
much more common. 

§ 58. All satisfaction, or what is commonly called 
hap pinesses always really ^ nd essentially _onry negativ e, 
and never positive. It is not an original gratification 
coming to us of itself, but must always be the satisfaction 
of a wish. The wish, i.e., some want, is the condition 
which precedes every pleasure. But with the satisfac- 
tion the wish and therefore the pleasure cease. Thus the 
satisfaction or the pleasing can never be more than the 


412 THE WORLD AS WILL. BK . iv. 

deliverance from a pain, from a want; for such is not 
only every actual, open sorrow, but every desire, the 
importunity of which disturbs our peace, and, indeed, the 
deadening ennui also that makes life a burden to us. It 
is, however, so hard to attain or achieve anything; diffi- 
culties and troubles without end are opposed to every 
purpose, and at every step hindrances accumulate. But 
when finally everything is overcome and attained, nothing 
can ever be gained but deliverance from some sorrow or 
desire, so that we find ourselves just in the same position 
as we occupied before this sorrow or desire appeared. 
All that is even directly given us is merely the want, i.e., 
the pain. The satisfaction and the pleasure we can only 
know indirectly through the remembrance of the preced- 
ing suffering and want, which ceases with its appearance. 
Hence it arises that we are not properly conscious of the 
blessings and advantages we actually possess, nor do we 
prize them, but think of them merely as a matter of 
course, for they gratify us only negatively by restraining 
suffering. Only when we have lost them do we become 
sensible of their value; for thejgant, the privation, Jhe 
sorrow, is the posjtive^_co mmunicating itself directly ta 
us. Thus also we are pleased by the remembrance of 
past need, sickness, want, and such like, because this is 
the only means of enjoying the present blessings. And, 
further, it cannot be denied that in this respect, and from 
this standpoint of egoism , which is the jorm of the will 
tojive, the sight or the description of the sufferings of 
others affords us satisfaction and pleasure in precisely the 
way Lucretius beautifully and frankly expresses it in the 
beginning of the Second Book — 

" Suave, mari magno, turbantibus cequora ventis, 
E terra magnum alterius spectare laborem: 
Non y quia vexari quemquam estjucunda voluptat; 
Sed, quibus ipse malis careas, quia ccniere suave est" 

Yet we shall see farther on that this kind of pleasure, 


through knowledge of our own well-being obtained in j 
this way, lies very near the source of real, positive I 

That all happiness is only of a negative not a positive 
nature, that just on this account it cannot be lasting 
satisfaction and gratification, but merely delivers us from ' 
some pain or want which must be followed either by a 
new pain, or by languor, empty longing, and ennui; this 
finds support in art^that true mirror of the world and 
U^ and especially in poetry. Every epic and dramatic 
poem can only represent a struggle, an effort, and fight for 
happiness, never enduring and complete happiness itself. 
It conducts its heroes through a thousand difficulties and 
dangers to the goal; as soon as this is reached, it hastens 
to let the curtain fall; for now there would remain 
nothing for it to do but to show that the glittering goal 
in which the hero expected to find happiness had only 
disappointed him, and that after its attainment he was 
no better off than before. Because a genuine enduring 
happiness is not possible, it cannot be the subject of art (/ 
Certainly the aim of the idyll is the description of such 
a happiness, but one also sees that the idyll as such can- 
not continue. The poet always finds that it either 
becomes epical in his hands, and in this case it is a very 
insignificant epic, made up of trifling sorrows, trifling 
delights, and trifling efforts— this is the commonest case 
—or else it becomes a merely descriptive poem, describing 
the beauty of nature, £e., jmre knowing free from will/ 
which certainly, as a matter of fact, is tWlonly pure" 
happiness, which is neither preceded by suffering "or 
want, nor necessarily followed by repentance, sorrow, 
emptiness, or satiety ; but this happiness cannot fill the 
whole life, but is only possible at moments. What we 
see in poetry we find again in music ; in the melodies of 
which we have recognised t he universal e y prpggirm f 
t he in m ost h i story of the self-nnn S r ; iona_^ ii the most 
secret life, longing, suffering, and delight ; the ebb and 


414 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

flow of the human heart. Melody is always a deviation 
from the keynote through a thousand capricious wander- 
ings, even to the most painful discord, and then a final 
return to the keynote which expresses the satisfaction 
and appeasing of the will, but with which nothing more 
can then be done, and the continuance of which any 
longer would only be a wearisome and unmeaning mono- 
tony corresponding to ennui. 

All that we intend to bring out clearly through these 
investigations, the impossibility of attaining lasting 
satisfaction and the negative nature of all happiness, 
finds its explanation in what is shown at the conclusion 
of the Second Book : that the will, of which human life. 
. like_eyery phenomenon, is the objectification, is a strivings 
vy Mout aim or end. We find the stamp of this end- 
lessness imprinted upon all the parts of its whole mani- 
festation, from its most universal form, endless time and 
space, up to the most perfect of all phenomena, the life 
and efforts of man. We may theoretically assume J,hre* 
extremes of human life^and treat them as elements of 
actual human life. First, thejojE£rinl_Hrill, the stro ng 
rja^sions, (Radscha-Guna). It appears in great historical 
characters; it is described in the epic and the drama. 
But it can also show itself in the little world, for the 
size of the objects is measured here by the degree in 
which they influence the will, not according to their 
external relations. Secondly, pure knowin g, the com- 
pr.p.hp.nsion of the Idm, conditioned by thaJreei ng of, 
knjMeilge^romJhe_servk^ the^Hfe_of^geniii3 

(Satwa-Guna). Thirdly and lastly, the grant. Agft l etharg y 
of the will, and also of the knowledge attaching to it, 
empty longing, life-benumbing languor (Tama-Guna). 
The life of the individual, far from becoming perma- 
nently fixed in one of these extremes, seldom touches 
any of them, and is for the most part only a weak and 
wavering approach to one or the other side, a needy 
desiring of trifling objects, constantly recurring, and so 


escaping ennui. It is really incredible how meaningless 
and void of significance when looked at from without, 
how dull and unenlightened by intellect when felt from 
within, is the course of the life of the great majority of 
men. It is a weary longing and complaining, a dream- 
like staggering through the four ages of life to death, 
accompanied by a series of trivial thoughts. Such men 
are like clockwork, which is wound up, and goes it knows 
not why ; and every time a man is begotten and born, 
the clock of human life is wound up anew, to repeat the 
same old piece it has played innumerable times before, 
passage after passage, measure after measure, with in- 
significant variations. Every individual, every human 
being and his course of life, is but another short dream 
of the endless spirit of nature, of the persistent will to 
live ; is only another fleeting form, which it carelessly 
sketches on its infinite page, space and time ; allows to 
remain for a time so short that it vanishes into nothing 
in comparison with these, and then obliterates to make 
new room. And yet, and here lies the serious side of 
life, every one of these fleeting forms, these empty 
fancies, must be paid for by the whole will to live, in all 
its activity, with many and deep sufferings, and finally 
with a bitter death, long feared and coming at last. 
This is why the sight of a corpse makes us suddenly so 

The life of every individual, if we survey it as a whole 
and in general, and only lay stress upon its most signifi- 
cant features, is really always a tragedy, but gone through 
in detail, it has the character of a comedy. For the 
deeds and vexations of the day, the restless irritation of 
the moment, the desires and fears of the week, the 
mishaps of every hour, are all through chance, which is 
ever bent upon some jest, scenes of a comedy. But the 
never-satisfied wishes, the frustrated efforts, the hopes 
unmercifully crushed by fate, the unfortunate errors of 
the whole life, with increasing suffering and death at the 

416 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

end, are always a tragedy. Thus, as if fate would add 
derision to the misery of our existence, our life must con- 
tain all the woes of tragedy, and yet we cannot even 
assert the dignity of tragic characters, but in the broad 
detail of life must inevitably be the foolish characters of 
a comedy. 

But however much great and small trials may fill 
human life, they are not able to conceal its insufficiency 
to satisfy the spirit ; they cannot hide the^empiiaeaijmd 
finpprf^jfljjfty nf gvic^^ nor exclude ennui, which is 
always ready to fill up every pause that care may allow. 
Hence it arises that the human mind, not content with 
the cares, anxieties, and occupations which the actual 
world lays upon it, creates for itself an imaginary world 
also in the form of a thousand different superstitions, then 
finds all manner of employment with this, and wastes 
time and strength upon it, as soon as the real world is 
willing to grant it the rest which it is quite incapable of 
enjoying. This is accordingly most markedly the case 
with nations for which life is made easy by the congenial 
nature of the climate and the soil, most of all with the 
Hindus, then with the Greeks, the Romans, and later 
with the Italians, the Spaniards, &c. Demons, gods, and 
s aints man creates in his own imag e, ; and to them he 
must then unceasingly bring offerings, prayers, temple 
decorations, vows and their fulfilment, pilgrimages, salu- 
tations, ornaments for their images, &c. Their service 
mingles everywhere with the real, and, indeed, obscures 
it. Every event of life is regarded as the work of these 
beings ; the intercourse with them occupies half the time 
of life, constantly sustains hope, and by the charm of 
illusion often becomes more interesting than intercourse 
with real beings. It is the expression and symptom 
of the actual need of mankind, partly for help and 
support, partly for occupation and diversion ; and if it 
often works in direct opposition to the first need, be- 
cause when accidents and dangers arise valuable time 


and strength, instead of being directed to warding them 
off, are uselessly wasted on prayers and offerings; it 
serves the second end all the better by this imaginary 
converse with a visionary spirit world; and this is the 
by no means contemptible gain of all superstitions. 

§ 59. If we have so far convinced ourselves a priori, 
by the most general consideration, by investigation of the 
primary and elemental features of human life, that in its 
whole plan it is capable of no true blessedness, but is in 
its very nature suffering in various forms, and throughout 
a state of misery, we might now awaken this conviction 
much more vividly within us if, proceeding more a pos- 
teriori, we were to turn to more definite instances, call 
up pictures to the fancy, and illustrate by examples the 
unspeakable misery which experience and history present, 
wherever one may look and in whatever direction one 
may seek. But the chapter would have no end, and 
would carry us far from the standpoint of the universal, 
which is essential to philosophy ; and, moreover, such a 
description might easily be taken for a mere declamation 
on human misery, such as has often been given, and, as 
such, might be charged with one-sidedness, because it 
started from particular facts. From such a reproach and 
suspicion our perfectly cold and philosophical investiga- 
tion of the inevitable suffering which is founded in the 
nature of life is free, for it starts from the universal and 
is conducted a priori. But confirmation a posteriori is 
everywhere easily obtained. Every one who has awakened 
from the first dream of youth, who has considered his 
own experience and that of others, who has studied him- 
self in life, in the history of the past and of his own time, 
and finally in the works of the great poets, will, if his 
judgment is not paralysed by some indelibly imprinted pre- 
judice, certainly arrive at the conclusion that this human 
world is the kingdom of chance and error, which rule with- 
out mercy in great things and in small, and along with which 
folly and wickedness also wield the scourge. Hence it arises 

VOL. I. 2D 

418 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

that everything better only struggles through with diffi- 
culty ; what is noble and wise seldom attains to expression, 
becomes effective and claims attention, but the absurd 
and the perverse in the sphere of thought, the dull and 
tasteless in the sphere of art, the wicked and deceitful in 
the sphere of action, really assert a supremacy, only dis- 
turbed by short interruptions. On the other hand, every- 
thing that is excellent is always a mere exception, one 
case in millions, and therefore, if it presents itself in 
a lasting work, this, when it has outlived the enmity of 
its contemporaries, exists in isolation, is preserved like a 
meteoric stone, sprung from an order of things different 
from that which prevails here. But as far as the life of 
the individual is concerned, every biography is the history 
of suffering, for every life is, as a rule, a continual series 
of great and small misfortunes, which each one conceals 
as much as possible, because he knows that others can 
seldom feel sympathy or compassion, but almost always 
satisfaction at the sight of the woes from which they are 
themselves for the moment exempt. But perhaps at the 
end of life, if a man is sincere and in full possession of 
his faculties, he will never wish to have it to live over 
again, but rather than this, he will much prefer absolute 
annihilation. The essential content of the famous solilo- 
quy in " Hamlet " is briefly this : Our state is so wretched 
that absolute annihilation would be decidedly preferable. 
If suicide really offered us this, so that the alternative 
" to be or not to be," in the full sense of the word, was 
placed before us, then it would be unconditionally to be 
chosen as " a consummation devoutly to be wished." But 
there is something in us which tells us that this is not 
the case : suicide is not the end ; death is not absolute 
annihilation. In like manner, what was said by the 
father of history x has not since him been contradicted, 
that no man has ever lived who has not wished more 
than once that he had not to live the following day 

1 Herodot. vii. 46. 


iccording to this, the brevity of life, which is so con- 
stantly lamented, may be the best quality it possesses. 
If, finally, we should bring clearly to a man's sight the 
terrible sufferings and miseries to which his life is con- 
stantly exposed, he would be seized with horror; and 
if we were to conduct the confirmed optimist through 
the hospitals, infirmaries, and surgical operating-rooms, 
through the prisons, torture-chambers, and slave-kennels, 
over battle-fields and places of execution ; if we were to 
open to him all the dark abodes of misery, where it hides 
itself from the glance of cold curiosity, and, finally, allow 
him to glance into the starving dungeon of Ugolino, he, 
too, would understand at last the nature of this " best of 
possible worlds." For whence did Dante take the mate- 
rials for his hell but from this our actual world ? And 
yet he made a very proper hell of it. And when, on 
the other hand, he came to the task of describing heaven 
and its delights, he had an insurmountable difficulty 
before him, for our world affords no materials at all for 
this. Therefore there remained nothing for him to do 
but, instead of describing the joys of paradise, to repeat 
to us the instruction given him there by his ancestor, by 
Beatrice, and by various saints. But from this it is 
sufficiently clear what manner of world it is. Certainly 
human life, like all bad ware, is covered over with a 
false lustre: what suffers always conceals itself; on 
the other hand, whatever pomp or splendour any one can 
get, he makes a show of openly, and the more inner con- 
tentment deserts him, the more he desires to exist as 
fortunate in the opinion of others: to such an extent 
does folly go, and the opinion of others is a chief aim of 
the efforts of every one, although the utter nothingness 
of it is expressed in the fact that in almost all languages 
vanity, vanitas, originally signifies emptiness and nothing- 
ness. But under all this false show, the miseries of life 
can so increase — and this happens every day — that the 
death which hitherto has been feared above all things is 

4 2o THE WORLD AS WILL. BK. iv. 

eagerly seized upon. Indeed, if fate will show its whole 
malice, even this refuge is denied to the sufferer, and, in 
the hands of enraged enemies, he may remain exposed to 
terrible and slow tortures without remedy. In vain the 
sufferer then calls on his gods for help; he remains 
exposed to his fate without grace. But this irremedi- 
ableness is only the mirror of the invincible nature of his 
will, of which Ins person is the objectivity. As little as 
an external power can change or suppress this will, so 
little can a foreign power deliver it from the miseries 
which proceed from the life which is the phenomenal 
appearance of that wilL In the principal matter, as in 
everything else, a man is always thrown back upon him- 
self. In vain does he make to himself gods in order 
to get from them by prayers and flattery what can only 
be accomplished by his own will-power. The Old Testa- 
ment made the world and man the work of a god, but the 
New Testament saw that, in order to teach that holi- 
ness and salvation from the sorrows of this world 
can only come from the world itself, it was necessary that 
this god should become man. It is and remains the 
will of man upon which everything depends for him. Fana- 
tics, martyrs, saints of every faith and name, have volun- 
tarily and gladly endured every torture, because in them 
the will to live had suppressed itself; and then even the 
slow destruction of its phenomenon was welcome to them. 
But I do not wish to anticipate the later exposition. For 
the rest, I cannot here avoid the statement that, to me, 
optimism, when it is not merely the thoughtless talk of 
such as harbour nothing but words under their low fore- 
heads, appears not merely as an absurd, but also as a 
really wicked way of thinking, as a bitter mockery of the 
unspeakable suffering of humanity. Let no one think 
that Christianity is favourable to optimism ; for, on the 
contrary, in the Gospels world and evil are used as almost 
synonymous. 1 

1 Cf. Ch. xlvi. of Supplement 



§ 60. "We have now completed the two expositions it 
as necessary to insert ; the exposition of the freedom of 
the will in itself together with the necessity of its phe- 
nomenon, and the exposition of its lot in the world which 
reflects its own nature, and upon the knowledge of which 
it has to assert or deny itself. Therefore we can now 
proceed to bring out more clearly the nature of this asser- 
tion and denial itself, which was referred to and explained 
in a merely general way above. This we shall do by 
exhibiting the conduct in which alone it finds its expres- 
sion, and considering it in its inner significance. 

The assertion of the will is the continuous willing itself, 
undisturbed by any knowledge, as it fills the life of man 
in general. For even the body of a man is the objectivity 
of the will, as it appears at this grade and in this indi- 
vidual And thus his willing which develops itself in 
time is, as it were, a paraphrase of his body, an elucida- 
tion of the significance of the whole and its parts ; it is 
another way of exhibiting the same thing-in-itself, of 
which the body is already the phenomenon. Therefore, 
instead of saying assertion of the will, we may say asser- 
tion of the body. The fundamental theme or subject of 
all the multifarious acts of will is the satisfaction of the 
wants which are inseparable from the existence of the 
body in health, they already have their expression in it, 
and may be referred to the maintenance of the indivi- 
dual and the propagation of the species. But indirectly 
the most different kinds of motives obtain in this way 
power over the will, and bring about the most multifari- 
ous acts of wilL Each of these is only an example, an 
instance, of the will which here manifests itself generally. 
Of what nature this example may be, what form the 
motive may have and impart to it, is not essential ; the 
important point here is that something is willed in 
general and the degree of intensity with which it is so 
willed. The will can only become visible in the motives, 
as the eye only manifests its power of seeing in the light 


422 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

The motive in general stands before the will in protean 
forms. It constantly promises complete satisfaction, the 
quenching of the thirst of wilL But whenever it is 
attained it at once appears in another form, and thus 
influences the will anew, always according to the degree 
of the intensity of this will, and its relation to knowledge 
which are revealed as empirical character, in these very 
examples and instances. 

From the first appearance of consciousness, a man 
* finds himself a willing being, and as a rule, his know- 
ledge remains in constant relation to his wilL He first 
seeks to know thoroughly the objects of his desire, and 
then the means of attaining them. Now he knows what 
he has to do, and, as a rule, he does not strive after other 
knowledge. He moves and acts ; his consciousness keeps 
him always working directly and actively towards the 
aims of his will ; his thought is concerned with the 
choice of motives. Such is life for almost all men ; they 
wish, they know what they wish, and they strive after it> 
with sufficient success to keep them from despair, and 
sufficient failure to keep them from ennui and its conse- 
quences. From this proceeds a certain serenity, or at 
least indifference, which cannot be affected by wealth or 
poverty ; for the rich and the poor do not enjoy what 
they have, for this, as we have shown, acts in a purely 
negative way, but what they hope to attain to by their 
efforts. They press forward with much earnestness, and 
indeed with an air of importance ; thus children also pur- 
sue their play. It is always an exception if such a life 
suffers interruption from the fact that either the aesthetic 
demand for contemplation or the ethical demand for re- 
nunciation proceed from a knowledge which is indepen- 
dent of the service of the will, and directed to the nature 
of the world in general. Most men are pursued by want 
all through life, without ever being allowed to come to 
their senses. On the other hand, the will is often in- 
flamed to a degree that far transcends the assertion of the 


body, and then violent emotions and powerful passions 
show themselves, in which the individual not only asserts 
his own existence, but denies and seeks to suppress that 
of others when it stands in his way. 

The maintenance of the body through its own powers 
is so small a degree of the assertion of will, that if it 
voluntarily remains at this degree, we might assume 
that, with the death of this body, the will also which 
appeared in it would be extinguished. But even the 
satisfaction of the sexual passions goes beyond the asser- 
tion of one's own existence, which fills so short a time, 
and asserts life for an indefinite time after the death 
of the individual. Nature, always true and consistent, 
here even naive, exhibits to us openly the inner signi- 
ficance of the act of generation. Our own consciousness, 
the intensity of the impulse, teaches us that in this 
act the most decided assertion of the will to live ex- 
presses itself, pure and without further addition (any 
denial of other individuals) ; and now, as the conse- 
quence of this act, a new life appears in time and the 
causal series, i.e., in nature ; the begotten appears before 
the begetter, different as regards the phenomenon, but in 
himself, i.e., according to the Idea, identical with him. 
Therefore it is this act through which every species of 
living creature binds itself to a whole and is per- 
petuated. Generation is, with reference to the begetter, 
only the expression, the symptom, of his decided asser- 
tion of the will to live : with reference to the begotten, 
it is not the cause of the will which appears in him, for 
the will in itself knows neither cause nor effect, but, 
like all causes, it is merely the occasional cause of the 
phenomenal appearance of this will at this time in this 
place. As thing-in-itself, the will of the begetter and that 
of the begotten are not different, for only the phenomenon, 
not the thing-in-itself, is subordinate to the principiu min- 
dividuationis. With that assertion beyond our own body 
and extending to the production of a new body, suffering 

424 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

and death, as belonging to the phenomenon of life, have 
also been asserted anew, and the possibility of salvation, 
introduced by the completest capability of knowledge, has 
for this time been shown to be fruitless. Here lies the 
profound reason of the shame connected with the process 
of generation. This view is mythically expressed in the 
dogma of Christian theology that we are all partakers in 
Adam's first transgression (which is clearly just the satis- 
faction of sexual passion), and through it are guilty 
of suffering and death. In this theology goes beyond 
the consideration of things according to the principle of 
sufficient reason, and recognises the Idea of man, the 
unity of which is re-established out of its dispersion into 
innumerable individuals through the bond of generation 
which holds them all together. Accordingly it regards 
every individual as on one side identical with Adam, 
the representative of the assertion of life, and, so far, as 
subject to sin (original sin), suffering, and death ; on the 
other side, the knowledge of the Idea of man enables it 
to regard every individual as identical with the saviour, 
the representative of the denial of the will to live, and, so 
far as a partaker of Ins sacrifice of himself, saved through 
his merits, and delivered from the bands of sin and 
death, i.e., the world (Eom. v. 12-21). 

Another mythical exposition of our view of sexual 
pleasure as the assertion of the will to live beyond the 
individual life, as an attainment to life which is brought 
about for the first time by this means, or as it were a 
renewed assignment of life, is the Greek myth of Proser- 
pine, who might return from the lower world so long as 
she had not tasted its fruit, but who became subject 
to it altogether through eating the pomegranate. This 
meaning appears very clearly in Goethe's incomparable 
presentation of this myth, especially when, as soon as 
she has tasted the pomegranate, the invisible chorus of 
the Fates — 


" Thou art ours ! 
Fasting shouldest thou return : 
And the bite of the apple makes thee ours ! " 

It is worth noticing that Clement of Alexandria 
(Strom, iii. c. 15) illustrates the matter with the same 
image and the same expression: Ol fiev evvovx^avres 
eavrov? airo iracr}? dfJbapTia*;, Bia rrjv ftaaikeiav, ratv 
ovpavcov, fia/capioi, ovtol eucnv, 61 tov koct/ulov vrjaTevovTe?. 
(Qui se castrarunt ah omni peccato propter regnum ccelorum, 
ii sunt beati, a mundo jejuna/rites). 

The sexual impulse also proves itself the decided and 
strongest assertion of life by the fact that to man in a 
state of nature, as to the brutes, it is the final end, the 
highest goal of life. Self-maintenance is his first effort, 
and as soon as he has made provision for that, he only 
strives after the propagation of the species : as a merely 
natural being he can attempt no more. Nature also, the 
inner being of which is the will to live itself, impels with 
all her power both man and the brute towards propaga- 
tion. Then it has attained its end with the individual, 
and is quite indifferent to its death, for, as the will to live, 
it cares only for the preservation of the species, the indi- 
vidual is nothing to it. Because the will to live expresses 
itself most strongly in the sexual impulse, the inner being 
of nature, the old poets and philosophers — Hesiod and 
Parmenides— said very significantly that Eros is the first, 
the creator, the principle from which all things proceed. 
(Cf. Arist. Metaph., i. 4.) Pherecydes said : Ei? epwra 
fieTaf3e(3\7)adcu tov Aia, fieWovra hrjfuovpyeiv (Jovem, 
cum mundum fabricare vellet, in cupidinem sese transfor- 
masse). Prochis ad Plat. Tim., 1. iii. A complete treat- 
ment of this subject we have recently received from 
6. F. Schoemann, " Be Cupidine Cosmogonico" 1852. The 
Maya of the Hindus, whose work and web is the whole 
world of illusion, is also symbolised by love. 

The genital organs are, far more than any other exter- 
nal member of the body, subject merely to the will, and 

426 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk.iv. 

not at all to knowledge. Indeed, the will shows itself 
here almost as independent of knowledge, as in those parts 
which, acting merely in consequence of stimuli, are sub- 
servient to vegetative life and reproduction, in which the 
will works blindly as in unconscious Nature. For gene- 
ration is only reproduction passing over to a new indivi- 
dual, as it were reproduction at the second power, as death 
is only excretion at the second power. According to all 
this, the genitals are properly the focus of will, and con- 
sequently the opposite pole of the brain, the representative 
of knowledge, i.e., the other side of the world, the world 
as idea. The former are the life-sustaining principle en- 
suring endless life to time. In this respect they were 
worshipped by the Greeks in the phalhis, and by the 
Hindus in the lingam, which are thus the symbol of the 
assertion of the will. Knowledge, on the other hand, 
affords the possibility of the suppression of willing, of sal- 
vation through freedom, of conquest and annihilation of 
the world. 

We already considered fully at the beginning of this 
Fourth Book how the will to live in its assertion must 
regard its relation to death. We saw that death does 
not trouble it, because it exists as something included in 
life itself and belonging to it Its opposite, generation, 
completely counterbalances it ; and, in spite of the death 
of the individual, ensures and guarantees life to the will 
to live through all time. To express this the Hindus 
made the lingam an attribute of Siva, the god of death. 
We also fully explained there how he who with full con- 
sciousness occupies the standpoint of the decided assertion 
of life awaits death without fear. We shall therefore say 
nothing more about this here. Without clear conscious- 
ness most men occupy this standpoint and continually 
assert life. The world exists as the mirror of this asser- 
tion, with innumerable individuals in infinite time and 
space, in infinite suffering, between generation and death 
without end Yet from no side is a complaint to be 


further raised about this ; for the will conducts the great 
tragedy and comedy at its own expense, and is also its 
own spectator. The world is just what it is because the 
will, whose manifestation it is, is what it is, because it 
so wills. The justification of suffering is, that in this 
phenomenon also the will asserts itself ; and this assertion 
is justified and balanced by the fact that the will bears 
the suffering. Here we get a glimpse of eternal justice in 
the whole : we shall recognise it later more definitely and 
distinctly, and also in the particular. But first we must 
consider temporal or human justice. 1 

§ 61. It may be remembered from the Second Book 
that in the whole of nature, at all the grades of the objec- 
tification of will, there was a necessary and constant con- 
flict between the individuals of all species ; and in this 
way was expressed the inner contradiction of the will to 
live with itself. At the highest grade of the objeetifica- 
tion, this phenomenon, like all others, will exhibit itself 
with greater distinctness, and will therefore be more easily 
explained. With this aim we shall next attempt to trace 
the source of egoism as the starting-point of all conflict. 

We have called time and space the principium in- 
dividuationis, because only through them and in them 
is multiplicity of the homogeneous possible. They are 
the essential forms of natural knowledge, i.e., know- 
ledge springing from the wilL Therefore the will 
everywhere manifests itself in the multiplicity of in- 
dividuals. But this multiplicity does not concern the 
will as thing-in-itself, but only its phenomena. The will 
itself is present, whole and undivided, in every one of 
these, and beholds around it the innumerably repeated 
image of its own nature; but this nature itself, the 
actually real, it finds directly only in its inner self. 
Therefore every one desires everything for himself, desires 
to possess, or at least to control, everything, and whatever 
opposes it it would like to destroy. To this is added, in 

1 Of. Ch. xlv. of the Supplement 

428 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv 

the case of such beings as have knowledge, that the indi- 
vidual is the supporter of the knowing subject, and the 
knowing subject is the supporter of the world, ie., that 
the whole of Nature outside the knowing subject, and 
thus also all other individuals, exist only in its idea ; it 
is only conscious of them as its idea, thus merely indi- 
rectly as something which is dependent on its own nature 
and existence ; for with its consciousness the world neces- 
sarily disappears for it, i.e., its being and non-being 
become synonymous and indistinguishable. Every know- 
ing individual is thus in truth, and finds itself as the 
whole will to live, or the inner being of the world itself, 
and also as the complemental condition of the world as 
idea, consequently as a microcosm which is of equal value 
with the macrocosm. Nature itself, which is everywhere 
and always truthful, gives him this knowledge, originally 
and independently of all reflection, with simple and direct 
certainty. Now from these two necessary properties we 
have given the fact may be explained that every indi- 
vidual, though vanishing altogether and diminished to 
nothing in the boundless world, yet makes itself the 
centre of the world, has regard for its own existence 
and well-being before everything else ; indeed, from the 
natural standpoint, is ready to sacrifice everything else for 
this — is ready to annihilate the world in order to maintain 
its own self, this drop in the ocean, a little longer. This 
disposition is egoism, which is essential to everything in 
Nature Yet it is just through egoism that the inner 
conflict of the will with itself attains to such a ter- 
rible revelation ; for this egoism has its continuance 
and being in that opposition of the microcosm and 
macrocosm, or in the fact that the objectifi cation of 
will has the principium individuationis for its form, 
through which the will manifests itself in the same way 
in innumerable individuals, and indeed entire and com- 
pletely in both aspects (will and idea) in each. Thus, 
while each individual is given to itself directly as the 


whole will and the whole subject of ideas, other indi- 
viduals are only given it as ideas. Therefore its own 
being, and the maintenance of it, is of more importance 
to itthan that of all others together. Every one looks 
upon his own death as upon the end of the world, while 
he accepts the death of his acquaintances as a matter of 
comparative indifference, if he is not in some way affected 
by it. In the consciousness that has reached the highest 
grade, that of man, egoism, as well as knowledge, pain 
and pleasure, must have reached its highest grade also, 
and the conflict of individuals which is conditioned by it 
must appear in its most terrible form. And indeed we 
see this everywhere before our eyes, in small things as in 
great. Now we see its terrible side in the lives of great 
tyrants and miscreants, and in world- desolating wars; 
now its absurd side, in which it is the theme of comedy, and 
very specially appears as self-conceit and vanity. Eoche- 
foucault understood this better than any one else, and 
presented it in the abstract. We see it both in the history 
of the world and in our own experience. But it appears 
most distinctly of all when any mob of men is set free 
from all law and order ; then there shows itself at once 
in the distinctest form the helium omnium contra omnes, 
which Hobbes has so admirably described in the first 
chapter De Cive. We see not only how every one tries to 
seize from the other what he wants himself, but how 
often one will destroy the whole happiness or life of an- 
other for the sake of an insignificant addition to his own 
happiness. This is the highest expression of egoism, the 
manifestations of which in this regard are only surpassed 
by those of actual wickedness, which seeks, quite disin- 
terestedly, the hurt and suffering of others, without any 
advantage to itself. Of this we shall speak soon. With 
this exhibition of the source of egoism the reader should 
compare the presentation of it in my prize- essay on the 
basis of morals, § 1 4. 

A chief source of that suffering which we found above 

43o THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

to be essential and inevitable to all life is, when it really 
appears in a definite form, that Eris } the conflict of all 
individuals, the expression of the contradiction, with 
which the will to live is affected in its inner self, and 
which attains a visible form through the principium indi- 
viduationis. Wild-beast fights are the most cruel means 
of showing this directly and vividly. In this original 
discord lies an unquenchable source of suffering, in spite 
of the precautions that have been taken against it, and 
which we shall now consider more closely. 

§ 62. It has already been explained that the first and 
simplest assertion of the will to live is only the assertion of 
one's own body, i.e., the exhibition of the will through acts 
in time, so far as the body, in its form and design, exhi- 
bits the same will in space, and no further. This asser- 
tion shows itself as maintenance of the body, by means 
of the application of its own powers. To it is directly 
related the satisfaction of the sexual impulse ; indeed this 
belongs to it, because the genitals belong to the body. 
Therefore voluntary renunciation of the satisfaction of 
that impulse, based upon no motive, is already a denial of 
the will to live, is a voluntary self -suppression of it, upon 
the entrance of knowledge which acts as a quieter. Accord- 
ingly such denial of one's own body exhibits itself as_a 
contradiction by the will of its own phenomenon. For 
although here also the body objectinearin the genitals 
the will to perpetuate the species, yet this is not willed. 
Just on this account, because it is a denial or suppression 
of the will to live, such a renunciation is a hard and pain- 
ful self-conquest ; but of this later. But since the will 
exhibits that self-assertion of one's own body in innumer- 
able individuals beside each other, it very easily extends 
in one individual, on account of the egoism peculiar to 
them all, beyond this assertion to the denial of the same 
will appearing in another individual The will of the 
first breaks through the limits of the assertion of will of 
another, because the individual either destroys or injures 


this other body itself, or else because it compels the 
powers of the other body to serve its own will, instead of 
the will which manifests itself in that other body. Thus 
if, from the will manifesting itself as another body, it with- 
draws the powers of this body, and so increases the power 
serving its own will beyond that of its own body, it con- 
sequently asserts its own will beyond its own body by means 
of the negation of the will appearing in another body. 
This breaking through the limits of the assertion of will 
of another has always been distinctly recognised, and its 
concept denoted by the word wrong. For both sides 
recognise the fact instantly, not, indeed, as we do here 
in distinct abstraction, but as feeling. He who suffers 
wrong feels the transgression into the sphere of the 
assertion of his own body, through the denial of it by 
another individual, as a direct and mental pain which is 
entirely separated and different from the accompanying 
physical suffering experienced from the act or the vexa- 
tion at the loss. To the doer of wrong, on the other 
hand, the knowledge presents itself that he is in himself 
the same will which appears in that body also, and which 
asserts itself with such vehemence in the one phenomenon 
that, transgressing the limits of its own body and its 
powers, it extends to the denial of this very will in 
another phenomenon, and so, regarded as will in itself, it 
strives against itself by this vehemence and rends itself. 
Moreover, this knowledge presents itself to him instantly, 
not in abstracto, but as an obscure feeling ; and this is 
called remorse, or, more accurately in this case, the feel- 
ing of wrong committed. 

Wrong, the conception of which we have thus analysed 
in its most general and abstract form, expresses itself in 
the concrete most completely, peculiarly, and palpably in 
cannibalism. This is its most distinct and evident type, 
the terrible picture of the greatest conflict of the will 
with itself at the highest grade of its objectification, which 
is man. Next to this, it expresses itself most distinctly 

%32 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

in murder; and therefore the committal of murder is 
followed instantly and with fearful distinctness by remorse, 
the abstract and dry significance of winch we have just 
given, winch inflicts a wound on our peace of mind that 
a lifetime cannot heal. For our horror at the murder 
committed, as also our shrinking from the committal of 
it, corresponds to that infinite clinging to life with which 
everything living, as phenomenon of the will to live, is 
penetrated. (We shall analyse this feeling which accom- 
panies the doing of wrong and evil, in other words, the 
pangs of conscience, more fully later on, and raise its 
concept to distinctness.) Mutilation, or mere injury of 
another body, indeed every blow, is to be regarded as in 
its nature the same as murder, and differing from it only 
in degree. Further, wrong shows itself in the subjugation 
of another individual, in forcing him into slavery, and, 
finally, in the seizure of another's goods, which, so far as 
these goods are regarded as the fruit of his labour, is just 
the same thing as making him a slave, and is related to 
this as mere injury is to murder. 

For property, which is not taken from a man without 
wrong, can, according to our explanation of wrong, only 
be that which has been produced by his own powers. 
Therefore by taking this we really take the powers of his 
body from the will objectified in it, to make them subject 
to the will objectified in another body. For only so 
does the wrong-doer, by seizing, not the body of another, 
but a lifeless thing quite different from it, break into the 
sphere of the assertion of will of another person, because 
the powers, the work of this other body, are, as it vvere, 
incorporated and identified with this thing. It follows 
from this that all true, i.a, moral, right of property is 
based simply and solely on work, as was pretty generally 
assumed before Kant, and is distinctly and beautifully 
expressed in the oldest of all codes of law : " Wise men 
who know the past explain that a cultured field is the 
property of him who cut down the wood and cleared and 


ploughed it, as an antelope belongs to the first hunter 
who mortally wounds it " (Laws of Menu, ix. 44). Kant's 
philosophy of law is an extraordinary concatenation of 
errors all leading to each other, and he bases the right 
of property upon first occupation. To me this is only 
explicable on the supposition that his powers were fail- 
ing through old age. For how should the mere avowal 
of my will to exclude others from the use of a thing at 
once give me a right to it ? Clearly such an avowal 
itself requires a foundation of right, instead of being one, 
as Kant assumes. And how would he act unjustly in se, 
i.e., morally, who does not respect that claim to the sole 
possession of a thing which is based upon nothing but 
its own avowal ? How should his conscience trouble 
him about it ? For it is so clear and easy to understand 
that there can be absolutely no such thing as a just seizure 
of anything, but only a just conversion or acquired posses- 
sion of it, by spending our own original powers upon it. 
When, by any foreign labour, however little, a thing has 
been cultivated, improved, kept from harm or preserved, 
even if this labour were only the plucking or picking 
up from the ground of fruit that has grown wild ; the 
person who forcibly seizes such a thing clearly deprives 
the other of the result of his labour expended upon it, 
makes the body of this other serve his will instead of 
its own, asserts his will beyond its own phenomenon to 
the denial of that of the other, i.e., does injustice or 
wrong. 1 On the other hand, the mere enjoyment of a 
thing, without any cultivation or preservation of it from 
destruction, gives just as little right to it as the mere 
avowal of our desire for its sole possession. Therefore, 
though one family has hunted a district alone, even for a 

1 Thus the basis of natural right sufficient. Only the name forma- 

of property does not require the tion is not very suitable, for the 

assumption of two grounds of right spending of any labour upon a thing 

beside each other, that based on does not need to be a forming or 

detention and that based on for- fashioning of it. 
mation; but the latter is itself 

VOL. I. 2 E 

434 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

hundred years, but has done nothing for its improve- 
ment ; if a stranger comes and desires to hunt there, it 
cannot prevent him from doing so without moral in- 
justice. Thus the so-called right of preoccupation, 
according to which, for the mere past enjoyment of a 
thing, there is demanded the further recompense of the 
exclusive right to its future enjoyment, is morally 
entirely without foundation. A new-comer might with 
far better right reply to him who was depending upon 
such a right, " Just because you have so long enjoyed, 
it is right that others should now enjoy also." No 
moral right can be established to the sole possession of 
anything upon which labour cannot be expended, either 
in improving it or in preserving it from harm, unless 
it be through a voluntary surrender on the part of 
others, as a reward for other services. This, however, 
already presupposes a community regulated by agree- 
ment — the State. The morally established right of pro- 
perty, as we have deduced it above, gives, from its 
nature, to the owner of a thing, the same unlimited 
power over it which he has over his own body ; and hence 
it follows that he can part with his possessions to others 
either in exchange or as a gift, and they then possess them 
with the same moral right as he did. 

As regards the doing of wrong generally, it occurs 
either through violence or through craft ; it matters not 
which as far as what is morally essential is concerned. 
First, in the case of murder, it is a matter of in- 
difference whether I make use of a dagger or of poison ; 
and the case of every bodily injury is analogous. Other 
cases of wrong can all be reduced to the fact that I, as 
the doer of wrong, compel another individual to serve my 
will instead of his own, to act according to my will 
instead of according to his own. On the path of violence 
I attain this end through physical causality, but on the 
path of craft by means of motivation, ie., by means of 
causality through knowledge; for I present to his will 


illusive motives, on account of which he follows my will, 
while he believes he is following his own. Since the 
medium in which the motives lie is knowledge, I can 
only accomplish this by falsifying his knowledge, and 
this is the lie. The lie always aims at influencing 
another's will, not merely his knowledge, for itself and 
as such, but only as a means, so far as it determines his 
will. For my lying itself, inasmuch as it proceeds 
from my will, requires a motive ; and only the will of 
another can be such a motive, not his knowledge in and 
for itself ; for as such it can never have an influence 
upon my will, therefore it can never move it, can never 
be a motive of its aim. But only the willing and doing 
of another can be this, and his knowledge indirectly 
through it. This holds good not only of all lies that 
have manifestly sprung from self-interest, but also of 
those which proceed from pure wickedness, which seeks 
enjoyment in the painful consequences of the error into 
which it has led another. Indeed, mere empty boasting 
aims at influencing the will and action of others more or 
less, by increasing their respect or improving their opinion 
of the boaster. The mere refusal of a truth, i.e., of an 
assertion generally, is in itself no wrong, but every im- 
posing of a lie is certainly a wrong. He who refuses to 
show the strayed traveller the right road does him no 
wrong, but he who directs him to a false road certainly 
does. It follows from what has been said, that every lie, 
like every act of violence, is as such wrong, because as 
such it has for its aim the extension of the authority of 
my will to other individuals, and so the assertion of my 
will through the denial of theirs, just as much as vio- 
lence has. But the most complete lie is the broken 
contract, because here all the conditions mentioned are 
completely and distinctly present together. For when I 
enter into a contract, the promised performance of the 
other individual is directly and confessedly the motive 
for my reciprocal performance. The promises were de- 

436 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv 

liberately and formally exchanged. The fulfilment o! 
the declarations made is, it is assumed, in the power of 
each. If the other breaks the covenant, he has deceived 
me, and by introducing merely illusory motives into my 
knowledge, he has bent my will according to his inten- 
tion ; he has extended the control of his will to another 
individual, and thus has committed a distinct wrong. 
On this is founded the moral lawfulness and validity of 
the contract. 

Wrong through violence is not so shameful to the doer 
of it as wrong through craft ; for the former arises from 
physical power, which under all circumstances impresses 
mankind; while the latter, by the use of subterfuge, 
betrays weakness, and lowers man at once as a physical 
and moral being. This is further the case because lying 
and deception can only succeed if he who employs them 
expresses at the same time horror and contempt of them 
in order to win confidence, and his victory rests on the 
fact that men credit him with honesty which he does not 
possess. The deep horror which is always excited by 
cunning, faithlessness, and treachery rests on the fact that 
good faith and honesty are the bond which externally 
binds into a unity the will which has been broken up 
into the multiplicity of individuals, and thereby limits 
the consequences of the egoism which results from that 
dispersion. Faithlessness and treachery break this out- 
ward bond asunder, and thus give boundless scope to the 
consequences of egoism. 

In the connection of our system we have found that 
the content of the concept of rorong is that quality of the 
conduct of an individual in which he extends the assertion 
of the will appearing in his own body so far that it 
becomes the denial of the will appearing in the bodies of 
others. We have also laid down, by means of very 
general examples, the limits at which the province of 
wrong begins ; for we have at once defined its gradations, 
from the highest degree to the lowest, by means of a few 


leading conceptions. According to this, the concept of 
wrong is the original and positive, and the concept of 
right, which is opposed to it, is the derivative and nega- 
tive ; for we must keep to the concepts, and not to the 
words. As a matter of fact, there would be no talk of 
right if there were no such thing as wrong. The concept 
right contains merely the negation of wrong, and every 
action is subsumed under it which does not transgress the 
limit laid down above, i.e. t is not a denial of the will of 
another for the stronger assertion of our own. That 
limit, therefore, divides, as regards a purely moral defini- 
tion, the whole province of possible actions into such 
as are wrong or right. Whenever an action does not en- 
croach, in the way explained above, on the sphere of the 
assertion of will of another, denying it, it is not wrong. 
Therefore, for example, the refusal of help to another in 
great need, the quiet contemplation of the death of another 
from starvation while we ourselves have more than enough, 
is certainly cruel and fiendish, but it is not wrong ; only 
it can be affirmed with certainty that whoever is capable 
of carrying unkindness and hardness to such a degree will 
certainly also commit every wrong whenever his wishes 
demand it and no compulsion prevents it. 

But the conception of right as the negation of wrong 
finds its principal application, and no doubt its origin, 
in cases in which an attempted wrong by violence is 
warded off. This warding off cannot itself be wrong, and 
consequently is right, although the violence it requires, 
regarded in itself and in isolation, would be wrong, and 
is here only justified by the motive, i.e., becomes right. 
If an individual goes so far in the assertion of his 
own will that he encroaches upon the assertion of will 
which is essential to my person as such, and denies it, 
then my warding off of that encroachment is only the 
denial of that denial, and thus from my side is nothing 
more than the assertion of the will which essentially and 
originally appears in my body, and is already implicitly 


expressed by the mere appearance of this body ; conse- 
quently is not wrong, but right That is to say : I have 
then a right to deny that denial of another with the 
force necessary to overcome it, and it is easy to see that 
this may extend to the killing of the other individual, 
whose encroachment as external violence pressing upon 
me may be warded off by a somewhat stronger counter- 
action, entirely without wrong, consequently with right. 
For all that happens from my side lies always within the 
sphere of the asseition of will essential to my person as 
such, and already expressed by it (which is the scene of 
the conflict), and does not encroach on that of the other, 
consequently is only negation of the negation, and thus 
affirmation, not itself negation. Thus if the will of 
another denies my will, as this appears in my body and 
the use of its powers for its maintenance, without denial 
of any foreign will which observes a like limitation, I 
can without wrong compel it to desist from such denial, 
i.e., I have so far a right of compulsion. 

In all cases in which I have a right of compulsion, a 
complete right to use violence against another, I may, 
according to the circumstances, just as well oppose the 
violence of the other with craft without doing any wrong, 
and accordingly I have an actual right to lie precisely so 
far as I have a right of compulsion. Therefore a man acts 
with perfect right who assures a highway robber who is 
searching him that he has nothing more upon him ; or, if 
a burglar has broken into his house by night, induces hhn 
by a lie to enter a cellar and then locks him in. A man who 
has been captured and carried off by robbers, for example 
by pirates, has the right to kill them not only by violence 
but also by craft, in order to regain his freedom. Thus, 
also, a promise is certainly not binding when it has been 
extorted by direct bodily violence, because he who suffers 
such compulsion may with full right free himself by 
killing, and, a fortiori, by deceiving his oppressor. Who- 
ever cannot recover through force the property which has 


been stolen from him, commits no wrong if he can accom- 
plish it through craft Indeed, if some one plays with 
me for money he has stolen from me, I have the right 
to use false dice against him, because all that I win from 
him already belongs to me. Whoever would deny this 
must still more deny the justifiableness of stratagem in 
war, which is just an acted lie, and is a proof of the say- 
ing of Queen Christina of Sweden, " The words of men 
are to be esteemed as nothing ; scarcely are their deeds 
to be trusted." So sharply does the limit of right border 
upon that of wrong. For the rest, I regard it as super- 
fluous to show that all this completely agrees with what 
was said above about the unlawfulness of the lie and 
of violence. It may also serve to explain the peculiar 
theory of the lie told under pressure. 1 

In accordance with what has been said, wrong and 
right are merely moral determinations, i.e. y such as are 
valid with regard to the consideration of human action as 
such, and in relation to the inner significance of this action 
in itself. This asserts itself directly in consciousness 
through the fact that the doing of wrong is accompanied 
by an inward pain, which is the merely felt consciousness 
of the wrong-doer of the excessive strength of the asser- 
tion of will in itself, which extends even to the denial 
of the manifestation of the will of another, and also the 
consciousness that although he is different from the 
person suffering wrong as far as the manifestation is 
concerned, yet in himself he is identical with him. The 
further explanation of this inner significance of all pain 
of conscience cannot be given till later. He who suffers 
wrong is, on the other hand, painfully conscious of the 
denial of his will, as it is expressed through the body 
and its natural requirements, for the satisfaction of which 
nature refers him to the powers of his body ; and at the 

1 The further exposition of the " Ueber das Fundament der Moral," 
philosophy of law here laid down §17, pp. 221-230 of isted., pp. 216- 
will be found in my prize-essay, 226 of 2d ed. 

440 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

same time he is conscious that without doing wrong he 
might ward off that denial by every means unless he 
lacks the power. This purely moral significance is the 
only one which right and wrong have for men as men, 
not as members of the State, and which consequently 
remains even when man is in a state of nature without 
any positive law. It constitutes the basis and the con- 
tent of all that has on this account been named natural 
law, though it is better called moral law, for its validity 
does not extend to suffering, to the external reality, but 
only to the action of man and the self-knowledge of his 
individual will which grows up in him from his action, 
and which is called conscience. It cannot, however, in a 
state of nature, assert itself in all cases, and outwardly 
upon other individuals, and prevent might from reigning 
instead of right. In a state of nature it depends upon 
every one merely to see that in every case he docs no 
wrong, but by no means to see that in every case he 
suffers no wrong, for this depends on the accident of his 
outward power. Therefore the concepts right and wrong, 
even in a state of nature, are certainly valid and by no 
means conventional, but there they are valid merely as 
moral concepts, for the self-knowledge of one's own will in 
each. They are a fixed point in the scale of the very dif- 
ferent degrees of strength with which the will to live asserts 
itself in human individuals, like the freezing-point on the 
thermometer ; the point at which the assertion of one's 
own will becomes the denial of the will of another, i.e. y 
specifies through wrong-doing the degree of its intensity, 
combined with the degree in which knowledge is involved 
in the principium individuationis (which is the form of all 
knowledge that is subject to the will). But whoever 
wants to set aside the purely moral consideration of 
human action, or denies it, and wishes to regard conduct 
merely in its outward effects and their consequences, may 
certainly, with Hobbes, explain right and wrong as con- 
ventional definitions arbitrarily assumed, and therefore 


not existing outside positive law, and we can never show 
him through external experience what does not belong to 
such experience. Hobbes himself characterises his com- 
pletely empirical method of thought very remarkably by 
the fact that in his book " De Principiis Gcomdrarum " 
he denies all pure mathematics properly so called, and 
obstinately maintains that the point has extension and 
the line has breadth, and we can never show him a point 
without extension or a line without breadth. Thus we 
can just as little impart to him the a 'priori nature of 
mathematics as the a priori nature of right, because 
he shuts himself out from all knowledge which is not 

The pure doctrine of right is thus a chapter of ethics, 
and is directly related only to action, not to suffering ; 
for only the former is the expression of will, and this 
alone is considered by ethics. Suffering is mere occur- 
rence. Ethics can only have regard to suffering indi- 
rectly, merely to show that what takes place merely to 
avoid suffering wrong is itself no infliction of wrong. 
The working out of this chapter of ethics would contain 
the precise definition of the limits to which an individual 
may go in the assertion of the will already objectified in 
his body without denying the same will as it appears in 
another individual ; and also the actions which transgress 
these limits, which consequently are wrong, and therefore 
in their turn may be warded off without wrong. Thus 
our own action always remains the point of view of the 

But the suffering of wrong appears as an event in outward 
experience, and in it is manifested, as we have said, more 
distinctly than anywhere else, the phenomenon of the 
conflict of the will to live with itself, arising from the 
multiplicity of individuals and from egoism, both of which 
are conditioned through the principium individuationis, 
which is the form of the world as idea for the knowledge 
of the individual We also saw above that a very large 

442 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

part of the suffering essential to human life has its 
perennial source in that conflict of individuals. 

The reason, however, which is common to all these 
individuals, and which enables them to know not merely 
the particular case, as the brutes do, but also the whole 
abstractly in its connection, has also taught them to dis- 
cern the source of that suffering, and induced them to 
consider the means of diminishing it, or, when possible, 
of suppressing it by a common sacrifice, which is, how- 
ever, more than counterbalanced by the common advan- 
tage that proceeds from it. However agreeable it is to 
the egoism of the individual to inflict wrong in particular 
cases, this has yet a necessary correlative in the suffering 
of wrong of another individual, to whom it is a great pain. 
And because the reason which surveys the whole left the 
one-sided point of view of the individual to which it be- 
longs, and freed itself for the moment from its depen- 
dence upon it, it saw the pleasure of an individual in 
inflicting wrong always outweighed by the relatively 
greater pain of the other who suffered the wrong ; and it 
found further, that because here everything was left to 
chance, every one had to fear that the pleasure of conve- 
niently inflicting wrong would far more rarely fall to his 
lot than the pain of enduring it. From this reason recog- 
nised that both in order to diminish the suffering which 
is everywhere disseminated, and as far as possible to 
divide it equally, the best and only means was to spare 
all the pain of suffering wrong by renouncing all the 
pleasure to be obtained by inflicting it. This means is 
the contract of the state or law. It is easily conceived, 
and little by little carried out by the egoism, which, 
through the use of reason, proceeds methodically and for- 
sakes its one sided point of view. This origin of the state 
and of law I have indicated was already exhibited as such 
by Flato in the " Republic." In fact, it is the essential 
and only origin, determined by the nature of the matter. 
Moreover, in no land can the state have ever had a 


different origin, because it is just this mode of origi- 
nating this aim that makes it a state. But it is a 
matter of indifference whether, in each particular nation, 
the condition which preceded it was that of a horde of 
savages independent of each other (anarchy), or that of 
a horde of slaves ruled at will by the stronger (des- 
potism). In both cases there existed as yet no state ; it 
first arose through that common agreement ; and accord- 
ing as that agreement is more or less free from anarchy 
or despotism, the state is more or less perfect. Ke- 
publics tend to anarchy, monarchies to despotism, and 
the mean of constitutional monarchy, which was there- 
fore devised, tends to government by factions. In order 
to found a perfect state, we must begin by providing 
beings whose nature allows them always to sacrifice 
their own to the public good. Till then, however, 
something may be attained through the existence of one 
family whose good is quite inseparable from that of the 
country ; so that, at least in matters of importance, it 
can never advance the one without the other. On this 
rests the power and the advantage of the hereditary 

Now as ethics was concerned exclusively with right 
and wrong doing, and could accurately point out the 
limits of his action to whoever was resolved to do no 
wrong ; politics, on the contrary, the theory of legis- 
lation, is exclusively concerned with the suffering of 
wrong, and would never trouble itself with wrong-doing 
at all if it were not on account of its ever-necessary 
correlative, the suffering of wrong, which it always keeps 
in view as the enemy it opposes. Indeed, if it were 
possible to conceive an infliction of wrong with which 
no suffering of wrong on the part of another was con- 
nected, the state would, consistently, by no means pro- 
hibit it. And because in ethics the will, the disposition, 
is the object of consideration, and the only real thing, 
the firm will to do wrong, which is only restrained 

444 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

and rendered ineffective by external might, and the 
actually committed wrong, are to it quite the same, 
and it condemns him who so wills as unjust at its 
tribunal. On the other hand, will and disposition, 
merely as such, do not concern the state at all, but 
only the deed (whether it is merely attempted or carried 
out), on account of its correlative, the suffering on the 
part of another. Thus for the state the deed, the event, 
is the only real ; the disposition, the intention, is only 
investigated so far as the significance of the deed 
becomes known through it Therefore the state will for- 
bid no one to carry about in his thought murder and 
poison against another, so long as it knows certainly that 
the fear of the sword and the wheel will always restrain 
the effects of that will The state has also by no means 
to eradicate the foolish purpose, the inclination to wrong- 
doing, the wicked disposition ; but merely always to place 
beside every possible motive for doing a wrong a more 
powerful motive for leaving it undone in the inevitable 
punishment that will ensue. Therefore the criminal coc 7 a 
is as complete a register as possible of motives against 
every criminal action that can possibly be imagined — both 
in abstracto, in order to make any case that occurs an 
application in concreto. Politics or legislation will there- 
fore for this end borrow from that chapter of ethics which 
is the doctrine of right, and which, besides the inner sig- 
nificance of right and wrong, determines the exact limits 
between them. Yet it will only do so for the purpose of 
making use of its reverse side, and regarding all the limits 
which ethics lays down as not to be transgressed, if we are 
to avoid doing wrong, from the other side, as the limits 
which we must not allow others to transgress if we do 
not wish to suffer wrong, and from which we have there- 
fore a right to drive others back. Therefore these limits 
are, as much as possible, from the passive side, barricaded 
by laws. It is evident that as an historian has very 
wittily been called an inverted prophet, the professor of 


law is an inverted moralist, and therefore law itself, in 
its proper sense, i.e., the doctrine of the right, which we 
ought to maintain, is inverted ethics in that chapter of 
it in which the rights are laid down which we ought not 
to violate. The concept of wrong and its negation, that 
of right, which is originally ethical, becomes juridical by 
the transference of the starting-point from the active to the 
passive side, and thus by inversion, This, as well as Kant's 
theory of law, which very falsely deduces the institution 
of the state as a moral duty from his categorical imperative, 
has, even in the most recent times, repeatedly occasioned 
the very extraordinary error that the state is an institution 
for furthering morality ; that it arises from the endeavour 
after this, and is, consequently, directed against egoism. 
As if the inward disposition, to which alone morality or 
immorality belongs, the externally free will, would allow it- 
self to be modified from without and changed by influences 
exerted upon it ! Still more perverse is the theory that 
the state is the condition of freedom in the moral sense, 
and in this way the condition of morality; for freedom 
lies beyond the phenomenon, and indeed beyond human 
arrangements. The state is, as we have said, so little 
directed against egoism in general and as such, that, on 
the contrary, it has sprung from egoism and exists only 
in its service — an egoism that well understands itself, 
proceeds methodically and forsakes the one-sided for the 
universal point of view, and so by addition is the common 
egoism of all. The state is thus instituted under the 
correct presupposition that pure morality, i.e., right action 
from moral grounds, is not to be expected ; if this were 
not the case, it would itself be superfluous. Thus the 
state, which aims at well-being, is by no means directed 
against egoism, but only against the disadvantageous 
consequences which arise from the multiplicity of egoistic 
individuals, and reciprocally affect them all and disturb 
their well-being. Therefore it was already said by Aris- 
totle (De. Rep. iii.) : Te\o9 iitv ovv 7roXew9 to ev fyv. 

446 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

tovto Be eariv to £tjv evSaifiova)? teat /raXw? (Finis civi- 
tatis est bene vivcrc, hoc autem est beate et pulchre vivere). 
Hobbes also has accurately and excellently expounded 
this origin and eud of the state ; and that old first prin- 
ciple of all state policy, salus publico, prima lex esto } 
indicates the same thing. If the state completely attains 
its end, it will produce the same outward result as if 
perfect justice of disposition prevailed everywhere. But 
the inner nature and origin of both phenomena will be 
the converse. Thus in the second case it would be that 
no one wished to do wrong, and in the first that no one 
wished to suffer wrong, and the means appropriate to this 
end had been fully employed. Thus the same line may 
be drawn from opposite directions, and a beast of prey 
with a muzzle is as harmless as a graminivorous animaL 
But beyond this point the state cannot go. It cannot 
exhibit a phenomenon such as would spring from universal 
mutual well-wishing and love. For just as we found that 
from its nature it would not forbid the doing of a wrong 
which involved no corresponding suffering of wrong on 
the part of another, and prohibits all wrong-doing only 
because this is impossible ; so conversely, in accordance 
with its tendency towards the well-being of all, it would 
very gladly take care that every benevolent action and 
work of human love should be experienced, if it were not 
that these also have an inevitable correlative in the per- 
formance of acts of benevolence and works of love, and 
every member of the state would wish to assume the 
passive and none the active role, and there would be no 
reason for exacting the latter from one member of the 
state rather than from another. Accordingly only the 
negative, which is just the right, not the positive, which 
has been comprehended under the name of obligations of 
love, or, less completely, duties, can be exacted by force. 

Legislation, as we have said, borrows the pure philo- 
sophy of right, or the doctrine of the nature and limits 
of right and wrong, from ethics, in order to apply it from 


the reverse side to its own ends, which are different 
from those of ethics, and to institute positive legislation 
and the means of supporting it, i.e., the state, in accord- 
ance with it. Positive legislation is thus the inverted 
application of the purely moral doctrine of right. This 
application may be made with reference to the peculiar 
relations and circumstances of a particular people. But 
only if the positive legislation is, in essential matters, 
throughout determined in accordance with the guidance 
of the pure theory of right, and for each of its proposi- 
tions a ground can be established in the pure theory of 
right, is the legislation which has arisen a positive right 
and the state a community based upon right, a state in 
the proper meaning of the word, a morally permissible, 
not immoral institution. Otherwise the positive legisla- 
tion is, on the contrary, the establishment of a positive 
wrong ; it is itself an openly avowed enforced wrong. 
Such is every despotism, the constitution of most Moham- 
medan kingdoms; and indeed various parts of many 
constitutions are also of this kind ; for example, serfdom, 
vassalage, and many such institutions. The pure theory 
of right or natural right — better, moral right — though 
always reversed, lies at the foundation of every just posi- 
tive legislation, as pure mathematics lies at the founda- 
tion of every branch of applied mathematics. The most 
important points of the doctrine of right, as philosophy has 
to supply it for that end to legislation, are the following : 
I. The explanation of the inner and real significance 
both of the origin of the conceptions of wrong and right, 
and of their application and position in ethics. 2. The 
deduction of the law of property. 3. The deduction of 
the moral validity of contracts; for this is the moral 
basis of the contract of the state. 4. The explanation of 
the origin and the aim of the state, of the relation of this 
aim to ethics, and of the intentional transference of the 
ethical doctrine of right, by reversing it, to legislation, in 
consequence of this relation. 5. The deduction of the 


BK. IV. 

right of punishment The remaining content of the doc- 
trine of right is mere application of these principles, 
mere accurate definition of the limits of right and wron<* 
for all possible relations of life, which are consequently 
united and distributed under certain points of view and 
titles. In these special doctrines the books which treat 
of pure law are fairly at one; it is only in the principles 
that they differ much, for these are always connected 
with some philosophical system. In connection with our 
system, we have explained the first four of these principal 
points shortly and generally, yet definitely and distinctly, 
and it remains for us to speak in the same way of the 
right of punishment. 

Kant makes the fundamentally false assertion that 
apart from the state there would be no complete right of 
property. It follows from our deduction, as given above 
that even in a state of nature there is property with 
complete natural, ie., moral right, which cannot be in- 
jured without wrong, but may without wrong be defended 
to the uttermost. On the other hand, it is certain that 
apart from the state there is no right of punishment 
All right to punish is based upon the positive law alone, 
which before the offence has determined a punishment 
for it, the threat of winch, as a counter-motive, is in- 
tended to outweigh all possible motives for the offence. 
This positive law is to be regarded as sanctioned and 
recognised by all the members of the state. It is 
thus based upon a common contract which the mem- 
bers of the state are in duty bound to fulfil, and thus, 
on the one hand, to inflict the punishment, and, on the 
other hand, to endure it; thus the endurance of the 
punishment may with right be enforced. Consequently 
the immediate end of punishment is, in the particular 
case, the fulfilment of the law as a contract. But the one 
end of the law is deterrence from the infringement of the 
rights of others. For, in order that every one may be 
protected from suffering wrong, men have combined to 


form a state, have renounced the doing of wrong, and 
assumed the task of maintaining the state. Thus the 
law and the fulfilment of it, the punishment, are essen- 
tially directed to the future, not to the past. This dis- 
tinguishes punishment from revenge; for the motives which 
instigate the latter are solely concerned with what has 
happened, and thus with the past as such. All requital 
of wrong by the infliction of pain, without any aim for 
the future, is revenge, and can have no other end than 
consolation for the suffering one has borne by the sight 
of the suffering one has inflicted upon another. This is 
wickedness and cruelty, and cannot be morally justified. 
Wrong which some one has inflicted upon me by no 
means entitles me to inflict wrong upon him The re- 
quital of evil with evil without further intention is 
neither morally nor otherwise through any rational 
ground to be justified, and the jus talionis set up as the 
absolute, final principle of the right of punishment, is 
meaningless. Therefore Kant's theory of punishment as 
mere requital for requital's sake is a completely ground- 
less and perverse view. Yet it is always appearing in 
the writings of many jurists, under all kinds of lofty 
phrases, which amount to nothing but empty words, as : 
Through the punishment the crime is expiated or neut- 
ralised and abolished, and many such. But no man has 
the right to set himself up as a purely moral judge and 
requiter, and punish the misdeeds of another with pains 
which he inflicts upon him, and so to impose penance 
upon him for his sins. Nay, this would rather be the 
most presumptuous arrogance; and therefore the Bible 
says, " Vengeance is mine ; I will repay, saith the Lord." 
But man has the right to care for the safety of society ; 
and this can only be done by interdicting all actions 
winch are denoted by the word "criminal," in order 
to prevent them by means of counter-motives, which 
are the threatened punishments. And this threat can 
only be made effective by carrying it out when a case 
vol. 1. 2 F 

450 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

occurs in spite of it Accordingly that the end of 
punishment, or more accurately of penal law, is the 
deterrence from crime, is a truth so generally recognised 
and indeed self-evident, that in England it is expressed 
in the very old form of indictment which is still served 
by the counsel for the Crown in criminal actions, for it 
concludes with the words, " If this be proved, you, the said 
N. K, ought to be punished with pains of law, to deter 
others from the like crimes in all time coming." If a 
prince desires to extend mercy to a criminal who has 
justly been condemned, his Ministers will represent to him 
that, if he does, this crime will soon be repeated. An 
end for the future distinguishes punishment from revenge, 
and punishment only has this end when it is inflicted in 
fulfilment of a lav:. It thus announces itself as inevitable 
in every future case, and thus the law obtains the power 
to deter, in which its end really consists. Now here a 
Kantian would inevitably reply that certainly according 
to this view the punished criminal would be used " merely 
as a means." This proposition, so unweariedly repeated 
by all the Kantians, " Man must always be treated as an 
end, never as a means," certainly sounds significant, and 
is therefore a very suitable proposition for those who like 
to have a formula which saves them all further thought; 
but looked at in the light, it is an exceedingly vague, 
indefinite assertion, which reaches its aim quite indirectly, 
requires to be explained, defined, and modified in every 
case of its application, and, if taken generally, is insuffi- 
cient, meagre, and moreover problematical. The murderer 
who has been condemned to the punishment of death 
according to law must now, at any rate, and with com- 
plete right, be used as a mere means. For public security, 
the chief end of the state, is disturbed by him ; indeed it 
is abolished if the law is not carried out, The murderer, 
his life, his person, must now be the means of fulfilling 
the law, and thereby of re-establishing the public secu- 
rity. And he is made such a means with perfect right* 


in fulfilment of the contract of the state, which was 
entered into by him because he was a citizen, and in 
accordance with which, in order to enjoy security for his 
life, freedom, and property, he has pledged his life, his 
freedom, and his property for the security of all, which 
pledge has now been forfeited. 

This theory of punishment which we have estab- 
lished, the theory which is directly supported by sound 
reason, is certainly in the main no new thought ; but it 
is a thought which was almost supplanted by new errors, 
and therefore it was necessary to exhibit it as distinctly 
as possible. The same thing is in its essence contained 
in what Puffendorf says on the subject, "De Officio Eominis 
et Civis" (Bk. ii. chap. 12). Hobbes also agrees with it, 
I Leviathan " (chaps. 1 5-28). In our own day Feurbach 
is well known to have maintained it. Indeed, it occurs 
even in the utterances of the ancient philosophers. Plato 
expresses it clearly in the " Protagoras " (p. 114, edit. 
Bip.), also in the " Gorgias" (p. 168), and lastly in the 
eleventh book of the "Laws" (p. 165). Seneca ex- 
presses Plato's opinion and the theory of all punishment 
in the short sentence, " J¥emo prudens punit, quiapeccatum 
est ; sed ne peccetur " (De Ira, i. 1 6). 

Thus we have come to recognise in the state the 
means by which egoism endowed with reason seeks to 
escape from its own evil consequences which turn against 
itself, and now each promotes the well-being of all 
because he sees that his own well-being is involved in it. 
If the state attained its end completely, then to a certain 
extent something approaching to an Utopia might finally, 
by the removal of all kinds of evil, be brought about. 
For by the human powers united in it, it is able to make 
the rest of nature more and more serviceable. But as 
yet the state has always remained very far from this 
goal. And even if it attained to it, innumerable evils 
essential to all life would still keep it in suffering ; and 
finally, if they were all removed, ennui would at once occupy 

452 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. rv. 

every place they left And besides, the strife of indi- 
viduals is never completely abolished by the state, for it 
vexes in trifles when it is prohibited in greater things. 
Finally, Kris, happily expelled from within, turns to what 
is without ; as the conflict of individuals, she is banished 
by the institution of the state ; but she reappears from 
without as the war of nations, and now demands in bulk 
and at once, as an accumulated debt, the bloody sacrifice 
which by wise precautions has been denied her in the 
particular. And even supposing that all this were finally 
overcome and removed, by wisdom founded on the experi- 
ence of thousands of years, at the end the result would 
be the actual over-population of the whole planet, the 
terrible evil of which only a bold imagination can now 
realise. 1 

§63. We have recognised temporal justice, which has 
its seat in the state, as requiting and punishing, and 
have seen that this only becomes justice through a re- 
ference to the future. For without this reference all 
punishing and requiting would be an outrage without 
justification, and indeed merely the addition of another 
evil to that which has already occurred, without meaning 
or significance. But it is quite otherwise with eternal 
justice, which was referred to before, and winch rules not 
the state but the world, is not dependent upon human 
institutions, is not subject to chance and deception, is not 
uncertain, wavering, and erring, but infallible, fixed, and 
sure. The conception of requital implies that of time ; 
therefore eternal justice cannot be requital Thus it 
cannot, like temporal justice, admit of respite and delay, 
and require time in order to triumph, equalising the evil 
deed by the evil consequences only by means of time. 
The punishment must here be so bound up with the 
offence that both are one. 

1 Of. Oh. xlviL of Supplement 


Aoxsirs nqdccii r ctd/xwetr' sig hong 
YIrePotei, xavur' sv Aio; de\TOV wnjyjjiig 
Tpupeiv rtv 1 aura,, Zriva. d' eioopmrcc wv 
Ovrjroig dixufyiv • Ovd' 6 irao oveccvog, 
Aiog ygatpovroi ru.% (3ootwv apagriag, 
E^ocpxtffsisv, ovd' txuvog av axonm 
TlefAneiv sxaffry tyifiw aXX* r, A/xjj 
Evravda wov 'tfr/v syyvg, it fiovXecO' 6gq,v. 

Eurip. ap. Stob. Eel., i c. 4. 

("Volare pennis scelera ad aetherias doinus 
Putatis, illic in Jovis tabularia 
Scripto referri ; turn Jovem lectis super 
Sententiam proferre 1 — sed mortalium 
Facinora cceli, quantaquanta est, regia 
Nequit tenere : nee legendis Juppiter 
Et puniendis par est. Est tamen ultio, 
Et, si intuemur, ilia nos habitat prope.") 

Now that such an eternal justice really lies in the nature 
of the world will soon become completely evident to 
whoever has grasped the whole of the thought which we 
have hitherto been developing. 

The world, in all the multiplicity of its parts and 
forms, is the manifestation, the objectivity, of the one 
will to live. Existence itself, and the kind of existence, 
both as a collective whole and in every part, proceeds 
from the will alone. The will is free, the will is 
almighty. The will appears in everything, just as it 
determines itself in itself and outside time. The world 
is only the mirror of this willing ; and all finitude, all 
suffering, all miseries, which it contains, belong to the 
expression of that which the will wills, are as they are 
because the will so wills. Accordingly with perfect right 
every being supports existence in general, and also the 
existence of its species and its peculiar individuality, 
entirely as it is and in circumstances as they are, in a 
world such as it is, swayed by chance and error, transient, 
ephemeral, and constantly suffering; and in all that it 
experiences, or indeed can experience, it always gets its 

454 THE WORLD AS WILL. bk. iv. 

due. For the will belongs to it ; and as the will is, so 
is the world. Only this world itself can bear the 
responsibility of its own existence and nature — no other ; 
for by what means could another have assumed it ? Do 
we desire to know what men, morally considered, are 
worth as a whole and in general, we have only to 
consider their fate as a whole and in general. This is 
want, wretchedness, affliction, misery, and death. Eternal 
justice reigns ; if they were not, as a whole, worthless, 
their fate, as a whole, would not be so sad. In this 
sense we may say, the world itself is the judgment of 
the world. If we could lay all the misery of the world 
in one scale of the balance, and all the guilt of the world 
in the other, the needle would certainly point to the 

Certainly, however, the world does not exhibit itself 
to the knowledge of the individual as such, developed 
for the service of the will, as it finally reveals itself 
to the inquirer as the objectivity of the one and only 
will to live, which he himself is. But the sight of the 
■ uncultured individual is clouded, as the Hindus say, by 
the veil of Maya.. He sees not the thing-in-itself but the 
phenomenon in time and space, the principium indivi- 
duationis, and in the other forms of the principle of 
sufficient reason. And in this form of his limited know- 
ledge he sees not the inner nature of things, which is 
one, but its phenomena as separated, disunited, innumer- 
able, very different, and indeed opposed. For to him 
pleasure appears as one thing and pain as quite another 
thing : one man as a tormentor and a murderer, another 
as a martyr and a victim ; wickedness as one thing and 
evil as another. He sees one man live in joy, abund- 
ance, and pleasure, and even at his door another die 
miserably of